From Mumbai to NASA Anima Patil-Sabale's Astronaut Dream

Growing up in India, Anima Patil-Sabale was inspired by Apollo-era space program books and dreamed of becoming an astronaut. Though initially aspiring to be a fighter pilot, she pivoted to academia and technology due to the Indian Air Force’s restrictions on women in combat roles at the time.

Patil-Sabale earned degrees in physics and computer applications, then worked as a software engineer in Mumbai. Her move to San Jose, California, brought her closer to NASA’s Ames Research Center, prompting her to pursue a master’s degree in aerospace engineering and apply to NASA.

Starting as a software and operations engineer for the Kepler space telescope, Patil-Sabale’s journey at NASA has been diverse. She now serves as a private astronaut mission (PAM) integrator for the International Space Station Program’s Avionics and Software Office, collaborating with Axiom Space to integrate mission requirements into the ISS systems.

In 2015, she experienced a taste of her astronaut dream as a commander for the HERA Campaign 2 Mission 3 at Johnson Space Center. This experience, among others, has fueled her passion for contributing to human spaceflight research, even as a test subject.

Active in promoting cultural diversity, Patil-Sabale leads the Social/Culture Committee for Johnson’s ASIA ERG. She organized a Diwali celebration in 2023, showcasing dance, music, and cultural bonding among NASA colleagues.

Patil-Sabale is also dedicated to inspiring the next generation, regularly speaking at events to encourage young girls to pursue STEM careers and advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion. “It’s never too late to pursue your interests, your passions,” she says, embodying her own advice as she continues her journey towards becoming an astronaut.