Dr. Thombi Layukallo
Yayasan Bina Bangsa Agung Podomoro, Indonesia
Dr. Thombi Layukallo was born in 1966 in Jakarta, Indonesia. He obtained his bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University, USA. Upon his return to his home country in 1989, he immediately joined Indonesia's national airplane program and was instrumental in conducting the wind tunnel tests for the N250 regional turboprop aircraft.
In 1996 he continued his education in Japan, obtaining his master's degree in 1999 and doctorate in 2002. He returned to his native country and immediately got involved in government's research in the wing-in-ground-effect technology. It was during this period that he found passion in marine technologies.
Dr. Layukallo resigned from his government post in 2005 and started getting involved in boat manufacturing industries. He later formed an engineering consulting company, through which he managed the construction of an ocean current power turbine and then led the construction project of a new research vessel for one of Indonesia's government institutions. During the research vessel project, he also had the rare opportunity of developing a manned research submersible, which is capable of operating at 400-meter below the ocean surface.
In 2013 he took the assignment from the newly established research-based Surya University in Indonesia to head the Advanced Marine Vehicles Research Center, pursuing the development of flying hovercraft.
Most recently, realizing that passion for space technologies must be fostered earlier in a student's life, he is affiliated with Yayasan Bina Bangsa Agung Podomoro to conduct full-time teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to school students, especially in space-related projects. In addition to engineering-related projects (such as hovercraft-building and rocketry), he also guides students in micro-algae and hydroponic farming as part of his teaching strategies to introduce sustainable space technologies to students.
He sees the UNISEC program as a very excellent means to bring space and aviation technologies available to youngsters, not only to college students, but equally importantly also to younger ones.