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Between global leaders


Karman Fellow 2024

Kavya K. Manyapu

Flight Operations Directorate Exploration Spacesuits Insight Lead

Dr. Kavya K. Manyapu is an Explorer, Space Scientist, Innovator, Educator, and Artist. She has dedicated the last 17+ years of her career contributing to a diverse portfolio of human spaceflight programs, ranging from Low Earth Orbit to Lunar/Mars exploration, with experience across industry, government, and academia through design and launch of spacecrafts, testing spacesuits, innovating technologies, extreme environment field expeditions, space analog missions, and international collaborations to democratize access to space technology.

She currently leads development of Exploration Spacesuits for the Artemis program at NASA, and previously spent 10 years developing CST-100 Starliner Spacecraft for Boeing in several high responsibility roles. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor at the UND Department of Space Studies. 

Kavya is a private pilot, SCUBA diver, trained in aerobatics, mountaineer and an Indian classical dancer. She holds a B.S in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, M.S in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT, and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Sciences from UND, and a Diploma In Bharatanatyam. Her research and technology inventions envelops novel, next generation spacesuit technologies for planetary missions holding 8 patents and 30 international publications. Spacesuit samples based on her research work were flown on the International Space Station. Kavya and her research has been featured in international platforms such as The Economist, BBC, CNN, Discovery News.

Kavya is an elected Vice-Chair to the International Astronautical Federation’s Human Spaceflight Committee. She served as a Regional Officer for Space Generation Advisory Council for North, Central America and Caribbean region. She spearheads technology research projects, educates and mentors students globally and worked at global platforms for international collaboration of space research. 

Kavya devotes her time educating and inspiring students to pursue careers in STEAM fields and has served in 150+ outreach programs at regional, national and international platforms. She founded a nonprofit Passion-2-Purpose Inc with a goal to Empower, Educate, Elevate the next generation and initiated “Project Shakthi- We climb so girls can read” to educate underprivileged girl children in India by climbing high altitude mountains and conducting exploratory expeditions. She climbed 2 of the 7 summits  (Mt.Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro) along with other mountains and performed a first ascent on a Virgin  6012-meter peak in the Indian Himalayas for the project which was featured in CNN Sports .

She has recently been recognized as 40 under 40 by Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, and Global 100 Women of the Future in Emerging Tech.  
Kavya aims to leverage her passion for space exploration to empower humanity and  translate its benefits to Earth.           

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