- Siyabulela Xuza hails from Mthatha and studied engineering at Harvard University
- MIT named a planet after him in honour of his innovation in homemade rocket fuel
- Former President Zuma bestowed him the Order of Mapungubwe in Silver in 2017
Siyabulela Xuza, an outstanding South African engineer, has the extraordinary honour of having a planet named after him.
29-year-old Siyabulela hails from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, Briefly.co.za learned. He studied engineering at the prestigious Harvard University in the US.
According to his profile on thepresidency.gov.za, Siyabulela started experimenting with rocket fuels in his mother's kitchen when he was young.
He pursued this passion and eventually developed a cheaper and safer rocket fuel. This allowed him to build The Phoenix, a homemade rocket that achieved a final height of over a kilometre.
This was a record for the amateur junior category in South Africa. His brilliant innovation won him several continental and global awards as well as a scholarship at Harvard.
In recognition of his contribution to developing cheaper and safer rocket fuel, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory named a small planet after him.
The Lincoln Laboratory is affiliated to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The planet, which is located near Jupiter, was discovered in 2000 and was renamed "23182 Siyaxuza" in his honour.
Former President Jacob Zuma also bestowed Siyabulela the Order of Mapungubwe in Silver in 2017. It is awarded to citizens who have made an impact internationally and served the national interest.
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