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Payam Banazadeh Followed Inspiration

In the spring of March 2014, a Stanford graduate student found himself, like much of the world, captivated by the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. In an industry so high tech, on a planet so well monitored, how could an entire plane vanish into thin air? Unlike most viewers, this particular student, Payam Banazadeh, had the background and the drive to do something about it. 

His solution was anything but simple and it took the University of Texas at Austin alum a large dose of creativity and time to develop his expertise. Using his background in Aerospace, Aeronautical, and Astronautical Engineering, Payam Banazadeh first gained experience at NASA. He worked his way up from an internship with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to a role as a Lead Project System Engineer. It was here that the answers to the satellite monitoring shortcomings revealed themselves to him.

A large problem with traditional optical satellite monitoring systems is that they only work during clear skies, daylight hours. In the case of the missing plane, there had only been so much time available for the ocean to be scanned. During his time at NASA, Payam Banazadeh saw an opportunity for adaptation and innovation by using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites. Banazadeh knew that SAR technology emitted its own energy, thereby circumventing the need for sunlight and creating a 24-hour global monitoring system.

Thus, Payam Banazadeh created Capella Space. His company serves to develop the SAR technology that will give greater understanding to problems ranging from pollution to climate change to development. His achievements have been recognized across media, by NASA, and even on the prestigious “Forbes 30 Under 30” list of visionaries. As Payam Banazadeh has just begun to show, it is not always about starting from scratch, but investigating the existing for a new purpose.

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