Raihana Shams Islam Antara, lecturer at the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, BRAC University, has been recognized as an IAF Emerging Space Leader (ESL) 2023 by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) for her contribution in the field of space technology. The IAF grants this recognition to engage, inspire and support the next generation of students and young professionals in this field, preparing them to become future leaders of the international space community.
This year, the IAF committee selected 34 leaders from more than 150 young professionals across 80 countries. The leaders, aged 21 to 35, have careers in space studies and are actively involved in the development of space-related activities and research in their respective countries. According to the IAF, Antara has made notable contributions to its community by promoting STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) studies among its students. After earning her degree in Space Systems Engineering, she then completed her Master of Applied Science in Integrated Systems Engineering at Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan.
Antara’s journey in space technology began with his involvement as an engineer in the development of Bangladesh’s first satellite, BRAC Onnesha. For this work, she was awarded the Youth Excellence in Science and Technology Award 2018 by ACI Limited Bangladesh. She also has prior experience with AIT for small satellites. Over the years, her experience as a space systems engineer, coupled with a diverse field encompassing antenna technology, communications, embedded systems and robotics, has made her a versatile space professional, says the IAF website.
Antara is a graduate of the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), a premier professional exchange program offered by the U.S. Department of State for women in STEM majors. As the local representative of UNISEC-Global, an international non-profit organization that supports concrete space development initiatives, she serves as the point of contact for UNISEC Bangladesh. She also serves as an advisor to the BRAC University Student Branch Chapter of the IEEE Communication Society (ComSoc).
Additionally, she is an engineer working on the Global Multi-Nation Birds Joint Satellite Project, also known as the “Birds Project”, which was the 2017 winner of the AIRBUS GEDC Diversity Award. She is the first female participant from Bangladesh and a graduate of the Cansat Leaders Training program. During her tenure at BRAC University, she co-founded the Laboratory of Space Systems Engineering and Technology (LASSET).