The International Astronautical Federation (IAF) has officially named Raihana Shams Islam Antara, a distinguished lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at BRAC University, as a 2023 IAF Emerging Space Leader (ESL). This prestigious recognition is a testament to her outstanding contributions to the field of space technology and her commitment to inspiring and educating the next generation of space professionals.
The IAF’s Emerging Space Leader program is designed to identify, engage, and support young professionals and students in the realm of space studies, grooming them to become the future leaders of the global space community. This year, Ms. Antara was selected as one of the 34 leaders from a pool of over 150 young professionals hailing from 80 countries worldwide.
With a background in Space Systems Engineering and a Master’s in Applied Science for Integrated Systems Engineering from Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan, Raihana Shams Islam Antara has made substantial contributions to her community. Her dedication to promoting STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) studies among her students has not gone unnoticed.
Ms. Antara’s journey in space technology commenced with her pivotal role as an engineer in the development of Bangladesh’s inaugural satellite, BRAC Onnesha. Her outstanding work in this endeavor was recognized with the 2018 Science and Technology Youth Excellence Award by ACI Limited Bangladesh. Furthermore, she boasts extensive experience in working on small satellites with the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).
Her expertise spans a diverse spectrum of skills, including antenna technology, communications, embedded systems, and robotics, which have shaped her into a versatile and accomplished space professional, as highlighted on the IAF’s website.
In addition to her accomplishments, Raihana Shams Islam Antara is a graduate of the International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP), a prestigious professional exchange program offered by the US Department of State, which focuses on empowering women in STEM subjects. She proudly serves as the local representative of UNISEC-Global, an international nonprofit organization committed to supporting real-world space development initiatives, acting as the point of contact for UNISEC Bangladesh.
Furthermore, Ms. Antara holds the role of advisor for the BRAC University Student Branch Chapter of the IEEE Communication Society (ComSoc), further showcasing her commitment to education and mentorship in the field.
Among her many contributions, Raihana Shams Islam Antara is an engineer actively involved in the Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds satellite project, also known as the ‘Birds Project.’ This groundbreaking project secured the AIRBUS GEDC Diversity Award in 2017. Her participation in the project as the first female representative from Bangladesh is a testament to her pioneering spirit. Additionally, she is a graduate of the Cansat Leaders Training program.
During her tenure at BRAC University, Ms. Antara co-founded the Laboratory of Space Systems Engineering & Technology (LASSET), contributing to the university’s growing legacy in the field of space technology.
Raihana Shams Islam Antara’s recognition as a 2023 IAF Emerging Space Leader is a testament to her exceptional dedication, skills, and accomplishments in the field of space technology. The international space community has certainly gained a remarkable asset in this talented Bangladeshi professional.