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Naser Sadeq Ashknani

Naser Sadeq Ashknani

“My dream is to start up my aerospace company and launch the Kuwaiti Space
Rocket to space.”

 

Hi, could you introduce yourself in a few words?
Over the years I have worked on various projects such as building Dobsonian telescopes and dipole antenna radio telescopes.
I have recently completed an expedition to Antarctica, where I participated in the leadership on ice program and captured the effects of climate change in an engaging documentary.
I am working on starting the space industry in Kuwait, through my educational start-up Space Vaults and The Kuwait Rocket Propulsion Group, a research group I have started, composed of young Kuwaitis focused on the design, manufacture and rocket launch in Kuwait.

Tell us about your education.
I studied two years abroad in Penn State University and transferred back to Kuwait to start up my educational company Space Vaults.
I am currently a physics student in my second year at Kuwait University. I am also self taught in rocket propulsion and have mastered solidworks and matlab using online courses and resources.

What is it exactly that you do?
I build Space Launch Vehicles and am in the process of starting up a private space company focusing on the development of new innovative space launch mechanisms and manufacturing personalized small satellites. Our goal is to be the leading launch provider in the MENA region, and to provide various space technologies for both the private and governmental sector.
Currently, I am working on The KSR- Propulsion Group (KSR) is a research group of young Kuwaitis, focused on the design, manufacture, and rocket launch in Kuwait. Among others, our short term goal is to design and build the first generation of the engines, namely a 4-metre long liquid bi-propellant launch vehicle. In a time period of two years we envisage to test and successfully launch one of them up to 100 km in the atmosphere. In this launch we will take a historical picture of Kuwait’s flag with Planet Earth in the background. This picture will be given to his Highness the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah .

What got you interested in what you’re doing?
I was fascinated in space from a very young age. When I was 9 years old I used to go to Al Wafra with my father, and while on the way the stars got my interest. I started discussing the shapes of the constellations with my father. A couple of months later he bought me a book called How The Universe Works. From this point I was immensely curious about space exploration and the workings of the cosmos. I also believe that space exploration is a very important to humanity’s future. It ensures humans are multi-planetary. Thus, the future generation would have various planets to call home and this in hand would make an extinction event very unlikely.

What makes you unique or special in what you are doing?
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management (of the Bank of America) sees the space industry growing to $2.7 trillion in 30 years. It’s a great opportunity for Kuwait to enter this new space era and diversify their revenue sources. My aerospace company will provide various products and services that are on demand internationally, such as personalised cube satellites, launch service to low earth orbit and various job opportunities. I’m unique in what I am doing because I have acquired the knowledge necessary to build the space launch vehicles, and I have made many connections in the space Industry, such as from NASA, SPACEX, Copenhagen Suborbitals and many other companies. I’m also creating a new type of space rocket that utilizes methanol and nitrous as propellants.

Tell us your journey to where you have reached today. How was the initial struggle?

  • Completed the Designs and System Analysis for KSR-2.
  • Built the first Rocket KSR-1.
  • Applied to the Federal Aviation Administration for a suborbital launch permit.
  • Got accepted to the International Astronautical Congress to present my project in Germany.
  • Waiting on the Ministry of Defence to get the launch permission for the KSR-1.
    I wouldn’t call it a struggle. The journey was very beautiful and I have met many people in the aerospace field and learned so much in rocket propulsion.

How has been the help of your family in what you are doing? Were they supportive since the beginning?
The help was great. They let me transform my Diwaniya into a workshop. They are very supportive.

Who are your top 3 heroes and why?
Elon Musk, Tony Stark (from the movie Ironman) and Jeff Bezos. They are all visionaries and inspiring to me. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are transforming technology globally and I want to do that as well.

What are some of the challenges you are facing in your field and how are you overcoming them?
The challenges are as follows:

  • To get a permit from the ministry of defence.
  • To start this company in Kuwait, I would have to introduce this activity type to officials as it does not exist in any list yet.
  • To find an investor with similar visions to me and partner up together.

What advice or mentorship made a difference in your career?
Meeting Sulieman Al Fuhaid, a close friend to me and my partner in this project. Sulieman is an aerospace engineer and a former intern at SPACEX.

How would your friends describe you?
Dedicated, imaginative and upbeat.

What are some of your hobbies?
Astrophotography, running and writing poetry.

What are some of your top achievements?

  • Antarctica Climate Change Expedition – Documentary.
  • KSR-1 Rocket.
  • Acceptance to the International Astronautical Congress for my research.

What are your plans or goals for the future?
Starting up an aerospace manufacturer and launch service provider company and leading the field.

How does it feel to have been chosen for this award?
It’s a great honor and I am very excited for this opportunity.

Your message for other young and talented people out there.
My message to the youth is to imagine and visualize futuristic solutions to any problem that humanity is facing. Those solutions then should be evaluated using the scientific methodology and basic physical concepts to validate their feasibility.
Space Exploration is a fulfilling goal both personally and towards the betterment of humanity. Within it lie many solutions to our current obstacles on Earth. I thus advice the youth to be prepared for the endeavors of the future generation, by being equipped with knowledge such as physics and mathematics and an open imaginative thinking to what lies yet to be discovered.

Your favourite quote.
“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” Elon Musk

 

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