Aerospace engineering undergrad selected for Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship

Posted: March 5, 2021
starry sky

An aerospace engineering student at The Ohio State University has become the first Buckeye to be selected to the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program.

Raghav Bhagwat, a third-year student minoring in aviation, is one of just 30 fellows selected from more than 280 applicants for the 2021 summer internship and executive mentorship program designed to inspire the next generation of commercial spaceflight leaders. His fellowship host company is Intuitive Machines.

Bhagwat Raghav

“I was excited and pleasantly surprised when I got the call from Steve Isakowitz saying that I was selected for the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship,” said Bhagwat. “It felt great knowing that I was chosen for this fellowship alongside such an exceptional group of students.”

Bhagwat learned of the opportunity during his previous internships from fellow interns who had been selected for the program. “I could see the positive impact that the fellowship program had on their professional careers and that inspired me to apply,” he said.

At Intuitive Machines, he’ll spend his 12-week long internship working on propulsion system development and testing of the Nova-C Lunar Lander. Intuitive Machines was selected by NASA as one of its Commercial Lunar Payload Services providers to deliver payloads to the lunar surface in support of NASA’s Artemis Program. This lunar lander will be used to deliver several NASA-sponsored instruments and additional payloads from other customers to the moon in the next several years and has its first flight planned for October 2021.

Fellows also receive one-on-one mentorship from accomplished members of the space community, including astronauts, engineers, entrepreneurs, executives, investors, and others. Bhagwat’s assigned mentor is Pete Worden, chairman of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation and former director of NASA Ames Research Center.

Bhagwat said his passion for spaceflight and the current work being done in the industry is two-fold.

“First, it allows us to design technology for, and enable the means for a human presence in the most hostile regions. This will eventually allow us to protect the long-term future of humanity,” he said. “Secondly, I believe that the discoveries made in space have the ability to benefit the daily lives of everyone on Earth.”

He noted that solar panels have improved sustainable energy on the planet, space physiology research has improved everyday healthcare, and space satellites can be used to provide GPS, access the Internet, track climate change and prevent natural disasters.

After completing his fellowship experience, Bhagwat will return to campus to finish his final year of his undergraduate degree. His expected graduation is May 2022. He plans on going to graduate school and pursuing either space propulsion or bioastronautics as an area of focus.

“Although I am the first Ohio State student to earn this fellowship, I highly encourage others who are interested in commercial spaceflight to apply and hope to see more fellows from Ohio State in the coming years,” he said.

Read more about the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program and meet the rest of this year’s cohort.

by Meggie Biss, College of Engineering Communications | biss.11@osu.edu