Aastha Kacha is a testimonial to those who believe in following their dreams.
Kacha, an architectural designer, TEDx speaker and philanthropist has always wanted to become a space architect.
She followed her dream and turned it into reality through a will to overcome whatever mental and physical hurdles came her way.
In a Q&A, Vancouver resident Kacha talks about when her passion for space began, her goals, and how she stays fit.
Q: How long have you wanted to become a space architect?
A: Since I was thirteen years old. In 2010, I went to the USA to attend NASA Space Academy at Huntsville, Alabama Centre from Zydus School for Excellence.
During that academy, there were a lot of different activities involved such as launch on missions to the ISS station, training as an astronaut on the 1/6th gravity chair, build and launching a team rocket but one of the most interesting to me was the engineering design challenge and in a team of four, we were asked to design something on the lunar base.
I along with my team designed a fuel station thinking that we might run out of the fuel while going back to the earth and we got lunar contract award, at that moment I realized that to be able to design on (the) moon or any other planet, I need to become an architect, but to differentiate myself from other architects as I would be designing for space, my little brain came up with a term “space architect”.
At that time there was no profession like that, just in 2018 when I was about to graduate with my Bachelors in architectural technology and construction management from VIA University College in Denmark, I was finding different pathways to become a space architect.
One lesson I learned during my journey is that whatever I had once visualized, it all became a reality in a few years, therefore there is power in thoughts and whatever we pursue in our mind; we invite that in our real life.
Q: What was it like attending your first NASA space academy?
A: The NASA Space Academy was an eye-opening event in my life, not only because I had this great opportunity to attend but also it was my first trip abroad from India. Our six days at the Huntsville center were filled with the most exciting activities.
We were expected to practice clear communication through aquatic team-building activities and leadership training at Space Camp Challenge and put engineering skills to the test as they construct an ablative shield during the Thermal Design Challenge. Some of the highlighted activities are listed below,
Lunch on missions to the International Space Station, the moon or mars!
Train like an Astronaut on the 1/6th gravity chair and the multi-axis trainer.
Design, build and launch a team rocket
Teambuilding skills at water facilities
Putting creative thinking skills to work in engineering design challenges. Lunar base design task was a part of engineering design challenges,
Mission control tasks.
Apart from gaining scientific knowledge and getting an insight into NASA, I also got to meet and learn from many different nationalities at that young age, it helped me to enlarge my vision and perspective towards the global world. It was an experience of a lifetime and I would highly recommend anyone who is STEM enthusiastic to attend NASA Space Academy.
My biggest takeaway – It gave me a purpose of a lifetime that is to become a space architect and build a foundation in designing for outer space and inspire women in STEM.
Q: What is your fitness and healthy eating regime?
A: This is one thing I am very proud of, as my day can never start without keeping fitness as a prime priority. I get up by 5:30 am, at 6:00 I am at the Gym.
I start with cardio for twenty minutes to warm up then jump to weight for forty-five minutes followed by Chakra yoga poses for another twenty minutes and end up with OM chanting meditation as it helps me to connect with Universe. I am highly spiritual and believe in the law of the universe.
I am vegetarian and I try to maintain a Sattvic diet, (which) is a high-fibre, low-fat vegetarian diet.
Sattvic means ‘pure essence’ and thought to be pure and balanced. It helps to reduce chronic disease risk (with) various other benefits.
Q: How important is being both physically and mentally fit?
A: I believe that physical and mental health is the key to perform best at any given task and so physical and mental health should always be a priority. It is our health that will keep us going during adversities.
My food ritual includes high protein smoothie after the gym as my breakfast, a nice healthy lunch that can be something like rice and beans, beyond meat burger, lentils, salads and most soups as my dinner as I like to keep my stomach light while going to bed.
I also have a gratitude journal before bed that helps me to be happy and calm during stress and anxiety as the tasks I perform can be quite challenging at times.
Q: What are some of the projects you are currently working on?
A: Currently, I am highly involved in designing deployable Origami habitat design that can be carried from earth to mars or the moon.
There are various ways where Origami is being utilized in architecture such as emergency shelter/pods and space applications such as the latest solar panel system at International Space Station but nothing for space architecture, that is one of the key reasons I am very curious to explore this subject.
I have recently collaborated with Mars University and we are presenting at ASCEND 2021 conference at AIAA (American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics). I am also working towards my first analog mission to test my design.
The path that I have chosen for myself is a long one but worth it.
Enjoy the weekend and on behalf of Sportswave and Christine “HAPPY MOTHERS DAY”
About Steve Erickson