Khalid Manjoo

Team leader: SunSpace

As a child Khalid Manjoo's favourite toy was Luke Skywalker's light sabre. Today, as team leader for assembly and testing at SunSpace, a Stellenbosch- based satellite manufacturing company, he builds space satellites. But his career is not only about science; there's also a spiritual dimension. Looking into space helps him to "recognise the Almighty and His grandeurs in the kaleidoscope of creation, within and beyond our known world�. Manjoo's work involves interesting terrestrial travel, too. In 2009 the UCT engineering graduate visited Baikonur, the famous Russian cosmodrome from which Yuri Gagarin journeyed into space. He helped launch South Africa's second satellite, SumbandilaSat, from the same site. SumbandilaSat now roves the heavens, taking high-resolution pictures of South Africa. The data, Manjoo says, will assist disaster management experts to monitor floods, fires and desertification. "There is nothing more rewarding than being able to shape a better future for humanity,� he says. � Sipho McDermott

Blog: khalidmanjoo.wordpress.com Twitter: @KhalidManjoo