Loay Elbasyouni

Laureate of The Palestine Prize for Science 2021
Loay Elbasyouni

Loay Elbasyouni
Date of Birth: 
Place of Birth: 

Everybody can participate in space exploration and research; it’s not limited only to governments anymore.Loay Elbasyouni

Loay Elbasyouni was born in Germany while his father was studying medicine. He came back to Beit Hanoun in Gaza, Palestine when he was five years old. He lived through the First Intifada, when the academic year got as short as eighty days. He attended UNRWA’s Schools during his primary and secondary education. In 1998, he moved to the United States at the age of twenty to continue his higher education. He got his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Louisville in 2005.

Loay Elbasyouni was part of the NASA team that made history for the first time in April 2021 for flying the Ingenuity helicopter from the surface of Mars. He was an electrical and power electronics lead on the NASA ingenuity Mars Helicopter team. He has been awarded a number of achievement awards for his exceptional contribution to the Mars helicopter team in demonstrating the feasibility of helicopter flight in the extremely thin atmosphere at Mars.  

Loay Elbasyouni has over 20 years of work experience focused on power electronics in several industries, including automotive, renewable energy, and aerospace. Most recently, Loay worked on the advanced power conversion and propulsion technologies used for the development of several industries (Space, Aerospace, Automotive & Semiconductors equipment.)

Robert J. Collier Trophy – The National Aeronautic Association

May 2022 Howard Hughes Award – The Vertical Flight Society

March 2022 Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy – The National Space Club & Foundation

August 2021 Laureate Award – Aviation Week

June 2021 Award for Space Exploration John L. “Jack” Swigert – Space Foundation

June 2021 PSSF Outstanding Achievement Award – Palestine Student scholarship fund

September 2018 NASA Achievement Award – NASA

August 2004 Dean’s Graduate Research Assistance funding – School of engineering

Theobald Scholarship Award – Issued by Theobald Scholarship Award

January 2003 Intramural Research Incentive Grant – University of Louisville

BS Electrical Engineering

Master Electrical Engineering 

I grew up in Gaza, a place with no access to telescopes or observatories. I was so grateful to be close to a beach and far away from city lights. I used to take long walks on the beach in the dark nights. I walk for miles wondering about everything, as I was trying to get farther away from the city lights and my legs get tired. In that place, where there is no light but the stars and no sound but the sound of waves. I lay down on the sand with my hand behind my head looking at the night sky. You probably think I was looking at the stars, and that may be true, but I always wondered what was behind these stars and if we ever get there. I had a passion for electronics and fast things, I always want to be a jet pilot, hoping I can be a space shuttle captain.

Space works are revolutionizing how designs can be created, allowing for greater accomplishments and breakthroughs of discovery not only in space but in all avenues of technology. To me, the understanding of space is looking at the past and at the same time looking at the future.  We learn from the past that everything changes and everything ages. Even on our own planet, if we want to keep surviving, we must live past the age of our planet. That doesn’t mean we give up on the earth, the more we learn about space the more we appreciate the earth, and the more we understand how special earth is.

Space is wondrous and phenomenal. There is so much that remains unknown, and I believe that focusing on a new alternative mechanism to create technology must occur so that space exploration can continue to grow.  Space revolutionizes how to design and how to create things; it allows for greater accomplishments and breakthroughs of discovery. Through my experiences in design, I have learned much more by pushing the boundary of technology. When connecting physics, chemistry, and space science, I have come across phenomena that make me awe in amazement at our beautiful planet earth. You learn the harsh environments from temperature pressure to space radiation. 

Space feeds my passion, excitement and satisfaction. Working on space projects gives me the drive I feel I get my appreciation from the farther we can go and reach. Just like it gives me hopes and dreams I can share love and passion with our next generation of children and give them the excitement to study STEM and space.

“Everybody can participate in space exploration and research; it’s not limited only to governments anymore.”