Two Moroccans, in early twenties Awarded Space in Africa
Two young Moroccan innovators, Iliass Tanouti and Imane El Khantouti, ranked in the top ten most promising, under 30 leaders of the African space industry.
Space in Africa continues its massive growth. The ecosystem is enjoying favorable contributions from the government and private sector who continue to invest in academic institutions, researchers, agencies and programs that enhance the advancement of the industry.
In 2020, having completed a selection process, they are once again presenting Africa’s top 10 under 30 spotlighting the profiles of the best innovators, engineers, researchers, writers, and contributors to the Africa space industry.
“These young people continue to display outstanding courage and contributions to the industry, reminding us at all times that Africa is ready to take a place in the global space market.”
The two outstanding Moroccans, in their early twenties, who were awarded the Space in Africa highlights are:
Iliass Tanouti – At the young age of 23, Iliass Tanouti became a space system engineer with acquired knowledge in space entrepreneurship and policy. He graduated in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Manchester as a top-five student. Tanouti published his first research on space debris mitigation at the age of 21 while working for Thales Alenia’s Advanced Concepts team.
He developed space mission analysis and systems engineering models for several ESA and UKSA projects. He is currently completing a Master of Space Studies at the International Space University (ISU) while working on a Stealth Start-Up as a Systems Engineer. Tanouti is conducting a study on an Earth Observation CubeSat Constellation to address the Sustainable Development Goals in the continent, which he will present at IAC 2020.
He was also recently appointed as African Regional Coordinator for the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC). The young engineer’s long-term objective is to develop the first pan-African Earth Observation constellation, leveraging on Africa’s youth.
Imane El Khantouti, a recent graduate of Aerospace engineering from the International University of Rabat (UIR), has been actively involved in STEM since attending a STEM camp program in the IVY Tech community college, Fort Wayne. She has played an organizing role for Global Conference on Space for Emerging Countries on the SGAC-IAF youth workshop. She also contributed to the organization of the Global Conference on Space for Emerging Countries. She is currently working as a project manager and systems engineer in the Centre Spatiale Universitaire de Grenoble in France, where she leads a group of engineering students working on “the realization and specialization” of a communication payload. Additionally, she oversees a project which develops an instrument to observe and study the aurora borealis from space.
El Khantouti is also Morocco’s National Point of Contact for the Space Generation Advisory Council. She attended a scientific sub-committee organized by the UN agency’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).
As an active participant in studies of the African space market and commercialization; she submitted a paper on the subject for the 69th edition of the International Astronautical Congress.
In August 2020, Space in Africa released the 2020 Edition of the African Space Industry Annual Report. The document found that the African space industry is considerably growing, with African governments doubling their national space program operating budgets to an estimated MAD 4.34 billion ($490 million) compared to MAD 2.21 billion ($250 million) in 2019.