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Haileybury alumnus turned rocket scientist is aiming for the stars

Since graduating from Haileybury in 2002, Dr Hemant Chaurasia’s career as a rocket scientist has taken him from Australia to the US and back again. As Chief Product Officer of Fleet Space Technologies, Hemant plays a key role in advancing Australia’s efforts to explore the universe.

NEWS 24 Nov 2022

Many young children around the world look up at the stars each night and dream of becoming an astronaut, or perhaps a rocket scientist. After leaving Haileybury, that dream came true for Hemant Chaurasia (OH 2002).

He studied Mechanical Engineering and Physics at Monash University and then moved to the US to study at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Hemant did a Masters and PhD in Aerospace Engineering and was successful in his determination to build a career in the space industry.

“I spent half of my childhood at Haileybury – I loved the concerts and performances and studying Japanese. Some of my most special memories of the School are of the teachers who encouraged me to excel and who really brought joy to learning,” says Hemant.

“My Senior School Physics teacher had an amazing sense of humour that came from a place of passion for the subject. I was already intrinsically interested in Physics, but that teacher helped me truly love it – and I still do.”

Growing up, Hemant was fascinated by NASA’s Apollo program, the Space Shuttle, the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station and he remembers asking his parents many questions about the night sky.

“There’s something magical about space for me – it is endlessly vast, unknown and full of possibilities. I will never cease to be fascinated by everything we have learned about the universe beyond our world,” says Hemant.

Today, Hemant is the Chief Product Officer of Fleet Space Technologies, a leading Australian space technology startup. He is responsible for guiding the company’s products from the ideas stage to being designed, delivered and deployed.

Before joining Fleet, Hemant spent 14 years in the US aerospace sector. He initially joined the Aerospace and Defence arm of global consultancy firm, McKinsey & Company, where he spent his working day advising Fortune 100 aerospace, defence, tech and manufacturing companies on product development.

He later moved to space launch startup, Astra, helping to take the product from early development to successful launches in to orbit.

This year, Hemant decided it was time to return home to Australia and he joined Fleet.

Fleet is building a constellation of very small satellites to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems, starting with the renewable energy transition. Fleet’s first product, ExoSphere, is an innovative satellite-based solution to help discover new mineral deposits more rapidly and non-invasively. These minerals are critically needed to build electric vehicles, wind turbines and other products that will underpin the world’s energy transition.

“I’ve always seen space as a kind of Olympic Games for engineering and human ingenuity – systems we build to operate in space are designed for the highest speeds, the highest pressures and temperatures, the highest efficiency. It is an exciting challenge to work on anything that is built for space.”
Hemant Chaurasia

Hemant is excited to be back in Australia and working with a team of passionate space technologists and entrepreneurs with a big vision.

“The vision that motivates me is to help create a space company that will still matter in 100 years; one that really makes a difference to life on Earth and exploration beyond it,” he says.

“Things we build in space have the potential to benefit all of humanity and that is tremendously exciting for me.”

Find out more about the extensive extra-curricular programs available for students at Haileybury. Why not aim for the stars?!