SGAC is proud to present the January 2021 Member of the Month!

SGAC membership has been steadily growing throughout the years and among our team there are many incredible young space enthusiasts who should be recognized for their hard work and contributions to SGAC. For everyone in SGAC as a Volunteer and Member of Project Groups, volunteering in events creation and support, writing newsletters or managing our social media channels and much more, please accept our sincere thanks and appreciation for all your hard work and dedication in making the space community more inclusive, diverse and empowered!

Continuing the amazing efforts SGAC members and various online events organizing teams have provided the network with, for January 2021, we are pleased to announce and congratulate Marco Romero, SGAC NPoC of Angola, as Member of the Month!

Marco Romero is Ballistic and Navigation Satellite  Specialist Angolan Space Program, who started his career at the Angolan National Air Force as Aeronautical Engineer. He has completed the Advanced Master in Space System Engineering at ISAE Supaero, France,  and is currently part of the European Space Agency Master of Science on Human and Robotic Space Exploration and Development Systems (SEEDS) Program.  

Outside his studies, Marco is leading now the commission on implementation of the Angolan Centre for Space Studies and is the National Point of Contact of SGAC for Angola, National Outreach Coordinator for IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach/National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Open Cosmos Academy ambassador, and ISS Ambassador. 

In parallel with the operational space activates he supported the development of a Space Education and Outreach Program in Angola that was expanded trough Africa through videos and comic books, Pico Satellites, and learning STEAM lectures, where we can highlight the three editions of the Space Education Comic Book “Kids and Satellites”. Marco worked at Airbus Defence Space Academy as intern, studying the utility of small satellites for capacity building, specifically studying “The path from CanSat to Space System Engineering in Africa”. 

Complementary to this internship he has started an observation mission at the French Aerospace Valley to explore NanoStar, UFO, Galatea European programs, and developed a strategy to implement a sustainable New Space ecosystem in african countries regardless of their space development stage.

In the last 4 years, Marco developed and consolidated 6 Startups that have representation and participations in the development of the Aerospace Sector in Africa:

– NjiLAB – an Aeronautics Startup focused on UAV Manufacturing, Applications and Services 

– Autonação and Kandengues Cientistas –  2 Startups working with Space STEAM Education and development of Hardware and Software Solutions.

– HUMBITEC for Science and Technologies Applications Systems for the Sustainable Development  

– BomComix and MAC Studio working on multimedia and Arts and Entertainment

On the scope of his PanAfrican contributions and international collaboration, Marco is leading the Humbisat, a capacity building nanosatellite program which aims to deliver space capabilities for all African countries.

Ruvimbo Samanga – SGAC NPoC Zimbabwe

“Marco Romero is one of the beacons of the African space industry. 

His level of commitment and dedication, not only in the professional realm, but also his community especially make him stand out. I have had the privilege of witnessing his remarkable work ethic, which reflects nothing short of passion and enthusiasm to see growth in the space sector not only for his country but for the region at large. Marco has personally impacted my growth and career trajectory by allowing me to be privy to some of his most dear projects and networks and giving me space to grow my potential as an aspiring space professional. Working both on industry and community development initiatives I have drawn from Marco a deep sense of motivation, pride and enthusiasm to make a difference.

Marco has brought leadership and inspiration to various spaces including the SGAC, and other satellite projects under his guidance, such as the Newspace Angola group, Humbitec Ltd, IAU, Students for Exploration and Development of Space-Angola, and the World Economic Forum Global Shaper, in addition to the 5 SGAC working groups to which he is immensely devoted. Over the course of his five-year professional journey, he has amassed numerous certifications in topics closely aligned with his vision, such as GIS and Remote-Sensing, Mars Surviving Principles, and Ballistic Navigation and Support from renowned institutions around the world.

He was instrumental in the building and launch of Angola’s first satellite and will contribute likewise to the next planned launch as well. Aside from his technical prowess, he has a deep passion for inspiring the youth and has been instrumental in establishing space education awareness initiatives in his home country. To empower them, he has created several hackathons, conferences, incubations, challenges, studies, projects and other activities in Angola and joined similar events in other countries. He has a slew of personal passion projects under his wing including various startups, an analogue research station, and conference presentations and publications which he uses to build strategic networks and partnerships for Angola and Africa. It is safe to say he is also not short of recognition and achievements for his innovative and practical prowess in his field of expertise. He currently devotes his time as a specialist in Ballistic Navigation and Support for Satellite Operations at the Angolan Space Program.

At the same time, he completed his Advanced Masters at ISAE SUPAERO and a Master of Science, Post-Graduate programme on Human and Robotic Space Exploration and Development Systems (SEEDS) Program, from the European Space Agency. He is also currently working as an intern at Airbus Defence (at the Space Academy), on the study of the utility of Small Satellites for Capacity Building specifically studying “The Path From CanSat to Space System Engineering in Africa”. He also created and conducted a complementary observation mission at the French Aerospace Valley. His military background has fostered a huge sense of discipline and purpose within him which is clear to see in all of his endeavours, as well as his sense of pride for his country. It comes as no surprise that he was recently named one of the Top 10 under 30 in the African space industry. 

I have nominated Marco because I believe he is a true SGAC and space ambassador and embodies the kind of zeal, talent and perseverance necessary to drive Africa and the entire Globe’s aspirations to the cosmos and beyond. He has and will continue to show wonderful effort in espousing the values of the SGAC and bringing awareness of space in such various and creative ways.

Marco’s reaction:

“When I received the news I thought that people were playing with me or congratulating another activity that had taken place at the same time. As soon as I realized that I was really the Member of the Month, I was very happy for the affection of my colleagues and friends. 

I have been working for some time with Ruvimbo Samanga and reading the words of appreciation and motivation, as well as seeing the messages from all the other people who started to send me the celebration wishes, made me realize that SGAC is more than a network and volunteering work, we really constitute a Space Family.

In moments like this, I realize the real value of having a family that supports and invests in my career, and the pride of friends and an industry that, despite its challenges, believes in my potential and gradually gives me the space to grow.

Marco’s volunteering work during his first year as NPoC of Angola:

My role as part of the team has always been to find an opportunity and a place for the team in this vast solar system. The little I know – I try to share it, because I know that on the other side I am the first to want to learn everything from everyone. In life we have to learn how to listen and respect others, and this is what I have been doing and trying to get others to do, because for me, discipline and love surpass any other human potential in a successful career.

My dream is to have more Young Angolans to actively contribute to each of the SGAC segments. In addition to young Angolans I would like to see more Africans having the same support that I have had throughout the ages, and that they remain motivated to explore the orbits that I have explored.

“Since my first webinar with Alina Vizireanu and Damilola Oladeji on May 2, 2020, in which I had the opportunity to present with my friend Eldrige de Melo and meet Ruvimbo Samanga, until today, I learned that not only our intellectual capacity is important, but our human capacity too, and the will of a pure desire to grow and work for it. 

There are countless people that I would like to thank for this amazing award and unique experience I’m starting the New Year with, such as Rania Toukebri and Iliass Touti, working countless days with Ruvimbo and Eldrige, as well as part of the SGAC Project Groups with Daria Stepanova, Daniel Wischert, Antonino Salmeri, Ilaria Cinelli, Ciro Farinelli, Swetha Kotichintala, Victor Hertel, Smiriti Srivastava, Yolanda Kalogirou and many more.

I might have risked the arduous task of naming but everyone else I worked with equally deserves to be on my note. However, they certainly know that I acknowledge everything they have done for me.

Thank you All!

Harriet Brettle – SGAC Co-Chair:

“Huge congratulations to Marco! This well-deserved recognition of Marco’s contributions to SGAC highlights the numerous ways that Marco is an active and valued member of the SGAC space community. His continued efforts to strengthen and provide opportunities for Angolans within SGAC and the wider space community. His passion for making space available to all is inspiring and we’re so grateful to have Marco as part of the SGAC family.”

Davide Petrillo – SGAC Executive Director:

“Marco is the National Point of Contact for Angola and as such he has done a fantastic job in looking at opportunities to expand SGAC in the Country and in the African region and finding new local partnerships. He recently organised different online events to spread the word about SGAC in the country where he was able to bring speakers from all around the world to share their experiences with the attendees. Marco is a motivated volunteer who has the profound desire to contribute to the organisation’s success and to bring space to Africa.”