Bala Ramamurthy - Engineer & Scientist
I enjoy solving complex systems problems, applying my technical skills, and ability to work with people.
The unifying statement of my career to date is the pursuit of establishing a sustainable, and extended human presence in the Solar System, paving the way to beyond.
I believe that there is a human imperative to understand the universe. To learn as much as possible, it is important to sustain the human presence for as long as possible. This implies preventing planetary destruction: either human-induced through affecting the climate or through engaging in warfare.
Engineering fundamentally involves the control of materials, information flow, and the use of human resources to enable complex machines that ultimately serve people. Space systems operate at the intersection of engineering that pushes the boundaries of materials science, of how vast quantities of information are managed or modulated, and how to use energy to obtain, and transfer the data. The end products serviced are vast networks of information, and energy flows in support of human systems. Spacecraft serve as human-machine hybrid autonomous actors, in this environment, and they inter-play with each other, and other human system interfaces (think, the GPS in your car).
Systems engineering, to me, is how an engineer should be- it is engineering. To paraphrase Robert Heinlein, it is about confronting problems that are often inchoate, multi-disciplinary, bringing about order, making decisions to achieve control over the end goal. It is about balancing contradictory design requirements, and constraints, and reconciling those, often in an environment with many stakeholder parties with varying subjective interests in the matter.
I have had the phenomenal opportunity to practice systems engineering at varying scales- ranging from split-second engineering decisions integrating multiple system considerations in the hot seat in a launch control room to a nearly decade long project designing, build and fly a rocket worthy of flying crew safely and reliably to orbit.
2003 - 2007
Anna University, India
NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal
Eagle Manned Mission Award
Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy