Loay Elbasyouni grew up in Gaza City. He was always tinkering with electronics, and found he had a knack for fixing machines. 

Loay Elbasyouni, (center) with two friends, in the city of Beit Hanoun, at age of 13. Photo courtesy of Loay Elbasyouni.

As a young man he left his family to attend college in the United States. Despite his longing to return, Loay followed his path, eventually working as an engineer on a NASA mission to Mars. 

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, taken at “Airfield D” by the Perseverance rover on June 15, 2021, on the 114th Martian day of the mission. Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Loay interviewed his brother Heissam, who lives in Germany, using StoryCorps Connect to talk about the joy of making history in space, and the desire to return to his homeland.


Top Photo: Loay Elbasyouni with NASA’s  Ingenuity Helicopter in 2021. Photo courtesy of Loay Elbasyouni.

This story is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.