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List of Puerto Ricans in the United States Space Program


List of Puerto Ricans in the United States Space Program

Puerto Ricans in the United States Space Program

Joseph M. Acaba

Location of the island of Puerto Rico (green)

This is a list of notable Puerto Rican scientists involved in the United States Space Program, also known as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and their contributions to said program. This list is not limited to Puerto Ricans born in Puerto Rico, it also includes people of Puerto Rican descent born elsewhere. According to an article written by Margarita Santori Lopez for the official newspaper of the University of Puerto Rico's Mayagüez Campus, "Prensa RUM", as of 2003, of the 114 Hispanics working at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, 70 were Puerto Ricans or of Puerto Rican descent.[1]

Puerto Ricans and people of Puerto Rican descent, both men and women, have reached top positions in NASA, serving in sensitive leadership positions. On May 6, 2004, Joseph M. Acaba became the first person of Puerto Rican heritage to be named as a NASA astronaut candidate, when he was selected as a member of NASA Astronaut Training Group 19.[2] Nitza Margarita Cintron was named Chief of NASA's Johnson Space Center Space Medicine and Health Care Systems Office in 2004.[3] Felix Soto Toro is the scientist who developed an electronic 3D measuring system (APTMS) for the Space Shuttle.[4] He also joined fellow Puerto Ricans Enectalí Figueroa and Henry Bursian Berríos as an astronaut applicant. The following are short profiles of these men and women.

Contents: Top - Joseph M. Acaba, Roberto Alemán, Adán Rodríguez-Arroyo, Renán Borelli, Anthony M. Busquets, MiguelAlvarez Chico, Nitza Margarita Cintron, Gilberto Colón, Juan R. Cruz, Carlos Del Castillo, Lydia Del Rio, Rey N. Diaz, Alfonso Eaton, Enectalí Figueroa, Orlando Figueroa, Guillermo A. Gonzalez, Olga D. Gonzalez-Sanabria, Gloria Hernandez, Annie Delgado-Holton, Lucas G. Horta, Grisselle LaFontaine, Javier Lecha, Carlos A. Liceaga, P.E, Carlos Ortiz Longo, Debbie Martinez, Lissette Martinez, Lourdes E. Miranda, Mayra N. Montrosa, Marla E. Perez-Davis, Shayla Rivera, Miriam Rodon-Naveira, Miguel Rodríguez, Otilia I. Rodriguez-Alvarez, Pedro Rodriguez, Miguel Roman, Monserrate Roman, Carlos A. Gómez Rosa, Yajaira Sierra Sastre, Desiree Santa, Juan A. Román Velázquez, Felix Soto Toro, Adolfo Figueroa-Viñas, NASA's Bonzzo Award.

Joseph M. Acaba

Joseph M. Acaba
External video

You may watch and listen to Joseph Michael "Joe" Acaba and Suni Williams aboard the International Space Station during a Space Station Social Media Event aboard the International Space Station



In May 2004 Acaba became the first person of Puerto Rican heritage to be named as a NASA astronaut candidate, when he was selected as a member of NASA Astronaut Training Group 19.[7] He completed his training on February 10, 2006 and was assigned to STS-119, which flew from March 15 to March 28, 2009 to deliver the final set of solar arrays to the International Space Station.[8]

Roberto Alemán

Electronics Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist Environmental Instruments Director at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. Alemán directs everything that is related to the environmental instruments which the United States provides to the European Space Agency in order to operate the MetOp, a European satellite that provides environmental information to both Europe and the United States.[9]

Adán Rodriguez-Arroyo

Electronics Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

Stationed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland for over 20 years, Rodríguez-Arroyo was the Communications System Lead Engineer for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission (LRO), launched in June 2009 and currently orbiting the moon. Currently, Rodriguez-Arroyo is the Communications System Lead Engineer for the Magnetospheric MultiScale Mission (MMS) to be launched in 2015 and will study the electromagnetic iteration between the Sun and Earth.

Rodriguez-Arroyo earned his BSEE from the University of Puerto Rico and his MSEE from the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. He was born in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico.[10]

Renán Borelli

Mechanical Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

SWIFT satellite instrumentation Manager at NASA Goddard Space Center in Maryland. The Swift is a multi-wavelength space-based observatory dedicated to the study of gamma-ray burst (GRB) science.[1]

Anthony M. Busquets

Electronics Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

Stationed at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, his responsibilities include the development and application of multifunction control/display switch technology in 1983 and Development and application of a microprocessor-based I/O system for simulator use in 1984.

NASA Awards and Recognitions:

1986-Certification of Recognition (NASA Tech Brief Publication), 1987, 92-Certificate of Recognition (NASA Innovation Disclosure), 1992-NASA Team Excellence Award, 1993-Certificate of Outstanding Performance, 1995, 97-NASA Performance Award.

He is the author and or co-author of over 13 conference papers and NASA formal publications in the areas of cockpit controls and displays, use of stereoscopy in flight displays and pictorial flight displays for situation awareness enhancement.[11]

Miguel Alvarez Chico

Computer Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

System Hardware Design Engineer for the Aft-Deck Simulator and the Cockpit Motion Facilitya at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. He is also the Assistant Systems Engineer, General Aviation Simulator (reactivation) - support of the AWIN research study (1998–2002).[11]

NASA Awards and Recognitions:

1997, 2000-Achievement Award.

Nitza Margarita Cintron

Nitza Margarita Cintron

Chief of Space Medicine and Health Care Systems Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center.

In 1979, Cintron was the originator of the Biochemistry Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center. Cintron also served from (1979–85) as the project scientist for the Space Lab 2 mission which was launched aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1985. Among the positions held by Cintron in NASA are "Chief of the Biomedical Operations and Research Branch in the Medical Science Division" and "Director for managing the Life Sciences Research Laboratories" in support of medical operations. In 2004 she was named "Chief of NASA's (JSC) Space Medicine and Health Care Systems Office", position which she currently holds.[12]

NASA Awards and Recognitions:

"JSC Director's Commendation and Innovation Award", the centers highest award for a civil servant, the "NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement", the highest science honor given by the agency. On October 7, 2004, she was inducted into the Hispanic Engineer's National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC) Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame, located in Los Angeles, California, was established in 1998 and recognizes the contributions of Hispanics in the fields of science, engineering and technology. In 2006, she was recognized as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States by Hispanic magazine.[13][14]

Gilberto Colón

Chemical Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

Associate Director for the Sun Earth Connections Programs

Colon is the director of the NASA program known as "Living with a Star/Solar Terrestrial Probes". He travels throughout the United States and Puerto Rico during the summers, instructing teachers of both private and public educational facilities.[1]

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland

Juan R. Cruz

Aerospace Engineer, Aero Space Technologist

"Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Parachute" at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

Cruz is a senior aerospace engineer in the Exploration Systems Engineering Branch at the NASA Langley Research Center. His responsibilities are focused on research and development of entry, descent, and landing (EDL) systems for robotic and human exploration missions. He was a member of the highly successful Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project that placed two rovers on the surface of Mars in 2004. His contributions to the MER project were centered on the design and qualification of the supersonic parachute.

Cruz is also a member of the Phoenix (Mars 2007), Mars Science Laboratory (Mars 2009), and Crew Exploration Vehicle EDL teams. He has undertaken research on advanced missions to Mars, including robotic airplanes, as well as having been a technical reviewer for the Genesis, Huygens, and Stardust missions. Prior to his involvement with exploration programs he conducted research on high-altitude unmanned aircraft.

Cruz holds a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech, and an S.B. from MIT, both in aerospace engineering. During his years at MIT he was involved with the Monarch and Daedalus human powered airplane teams.[11]

Carlos Del Castillo

"Program Scientist for the Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program"

"NASA Headquarters, in Washington, D.C."

Del Castillo is the recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) award, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.[15]

He began working in the Mississippi River plume and in the application of remote sensors to study coastal environments. Del Castillo co-edited with Drs. Richard Miller and Brent McKee, "Remote Sensing of the Coastal Environment," a book which provides extensive insight on remote sensing of coastal waters from aircraft and space-based platforms

Lydia Del Rio

Lydia Del Rio


"Research and Program Management and Center Full Cost Program Analyst" at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Del Rio is responsible for planning and managing R&PM and for evaluating the effectiveness of its program efforts, and for the allocation of resources and funds utilization.[16]

Rey N. Diaz

Engineering Management

Stationed at NASA Kennedy Space Flight Center in Florida, Rey N. Diaz is the Chief of the Business Systems Division at the Kennedy Space Center. Diaz holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and a master's degree in Engineering Management both from the University of Central Florida. Prior to joining NASA in 1983, Diaz earned his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus.

For over 40 missions, Diaz was instrumental in the integration and testing of space flight systems and instruments carried on board Space Shuttle missions. In 1991, Diaz received the Silver Snoopy Award - one of the highest and most prestigious honors bestowed by the NASA's Astronaut Office and flown aboard a Space Shuttle mission.

An expert on management systems, Diaz led the successful implementation of the Business Management System associated with all NASA employees for the Kennedy Space Center.[17]

Alfonso Eaton

Mechanical Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

Assistant Director of the Engineering Division of the Goddard Space Flight Center.

"In 1966, Eaton became the first Puerto Rican and graduate of the Mayagüez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico to work for NASA. Eaton retired on September 2005, after 39 years of service to the Space agency."[1]

NASA Awards and Recognitions:

2000-NASA Medal for exceptional service, 200-NASA Medal for extraordinary service.

Enectalí Figueroa-Feliciano

Enectalí Figueroa

Mechanical Engineer, Astronaut applicant

An astrophysicist at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, Figueroa's research interests revolve around the development of high-energy-resolution imaging spectrometers for space-borne applications in experimental astrophysics and cosmology."

"Figueroa is an astrophysicist who pioneered the development position-sensitive detectors and is an expert and researcher on dark matter.[18][19] Figueroa is a researcher with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and a professor of physics MIT.[20][21]

Figueroa is also an Assistant Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology {MIT] and the author of various papers including "Position-sensitive low-temperature detectors".[1][21] astrophysicist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)[20]

Orlando Figueroa

Orlando Figueroa
External video
You may watch and listen to Orlando Figueroa recipient of the 2005 Service to America Medal here

Mechanical Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

Former "Director of Solar System Exploration Division and Mars Exploration" and "Director, Applied Engineering & Technology" (as the "Director of Engineering" he managed the full scope of engineering activities at Goddard) at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Headed the cryogenic technology section, played a key role on the Cosmic Background Explorer mission, and managed a Space Shuttle Helium on Orbit Mission. Manager for the Small Explorers (SMEX) project, manager for the Explorers Program, and Director of Systems Technology and Advanced Concept Directorate. On August 1, 2004, was named Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs.[22] In August 2005, Figueroa was appointed to the position of Director for System Safety and Mission Assurance at the Goddard Space Flight Center. In October 2005, Figueroa was named Director of Applied Engineering and Technology at Goddard, as such he is responsible for 1,300 employees and provides guidance on engineering and system technology.

NASA Awards and Recognitions:

1993-NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for SMEX, 1994-Community Stars Award, 2001-Presidential Rank Award for Outstanding Performance as a Senior Executive, 2002-Pioneer Award, 2002-Hispanic Business magazine named Fiqueroa to its list of the nation's 100 Most Influential Hispanics.[22]

Guillermo A. Gonzalez

Electronical Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

"In Space Propulsion-Solar Sails Program Manager"

Specialty: Electropyrotechnics Firing circuit & Nickel Cadmium Battery Systems at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

NASA Group/Team Achievement Awards:

1989, 90-Group Achievement Award as member of the HALOE Instrument Team, 1990-Group Achievement Award as member of the X-29 Drop Model Team, 1994-Team Excellence Award for the X-31 Drop Model Program. Co-authored 3 publications in the area of aircraft flight testing.[11]

Olga D. Gonzalez-Sanabria

Olga D. Gonzalez-Sanabria

Chemical Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

"Director of the Engineering and Technical Services"

Gonzalez-Sanabria is responsible for planning, and directing a full range of integrated services including engineering, fabrication, testing, facility management and aircraft services for the Glenn Research Center.

NASA Awards and Recognitions:

1993-NASA Exceptional Service Medal, 2002-NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership, 2004-Inducted to the Ohio Women Hall of Fame.[23]

NASA Glenn Research Center in Ohio

Amri Hernandez-Pellerano

Electronics Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

"Power Systems Electronics Designer" at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Hernandez-Pellerano designs, builds and tests the electronics that will regulate the solar array power in order to charge the spacecraft battery and distribute power to the different loads or users inside the spacecraft.[24]

NASA Awards and Recognitions:

2003-The GSFC Engineering Achievement Award for her design of the Power Systems Electronics for the MAP mission.

Gloria Hernandez

Gloria Hernandez

Physical Scientist, Science Manager, Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment III on the International Space Station (SAGE III on ISS)

NASA Awards and Recognitions:

Over 30 NASA Performance Awards and Superior Accomplishment Awards

2011 - Official Citation from the General Assembly, State of Connecticut in recognition for receiving the 2011 Latina Legends Award in Science and Technology from the Latinas & Power Symposium, and for her commitment to the empowerment of women and breaking through barriers in science and technology.

2001 - Recipient of the NASA Fellowship to Harvard Business School.

2000 - Southern Illinois University Minority Engineering Program Achievement Award.

1998 - The National Technical Association 50 Top Women in the Sciences Award.[11][25]

Annie Delgado-Holton

Project Control Specialist

Annie Delgado-Holton

As a PCG Delgado-Holton us responsible for the budget planning and analysis of a major portion of a program and or project for which she was selected. She provides support to the Exploration Systems Division (ESD) as member of the Project Control Office staff. Delgado-Holton evaluates financial trends and determines compliance with project guidance at Glenn Research Center in Ohio.

Delgado-Holton launched the first "Esperanza Community Dialogue", Esperanza is a non-profit organization in the Cleveland area, whose main goal is to provide students with the necessary resources to excel in their college careers. Esperanza Community Dialogue brings forth to the Center Esperanza scholarship recipients and their parents to learn and discuss the great opportunities offered at NASA GRC.

Delgado-Holton began her career at NASA Glenn Research Center as an Executive Support Assistant to the Aeronautics Directorate.

She is also a member of LATINA and as a member she advocated for the inclusion of a Hispanic woman into the Ohio's Women's Hall of Fame.[26]

Lucas G. Horta

Aerospace Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

NASA Awards and Recognitions:

1990-Certificate of Appreciation (Outstanding Accomplishments Control-Structure Interaction Program), 1987, 89, 94, 96-Certificate of Outstanding Performance, 1990-Group Achievement Award (Control-Structure Interaction Mini-Mast Team), 1990-92-Superior Accomplishment Award, 1996-Performance Award.

He is the author and or co-author of over 35 technical papers in the areas of system identification, vibration control and isolation, optimal control design and implementation, optimal actuator/sensor placement, model testing, and experimental verification of control methodologies.[11]

NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia

Grisselle LaFontaine

Grisselle LaFontaine

Information Technologist

"Information Technology (IT) Specialist" at Glenn Research Center in Ohio.

Part of LaFontaine's job is to assist in the implementation of federal IT mandates. She develops Web-based solutions to address information management needs. LaFontaine developed a dynamic web-based bulletin board called "Today@Glenn" and she created a web site documenting Cultural Change initiatives at Glenn. LaFontaine helped develop a NASA strategic plan for the advancement of Hispanics at the Center.[27]

Javier Lecha

Electronics Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

"Group Leader in the area of Electromechanical systems" at Goddard Space Center in Maryland.[1]

María C. Lecha

Electronics Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

Lecha is in charge of a group of engineers who are in the process of developing the "Solar Dynamic Observatory" which will be launched into outer space in 2008 at Goddard Space Center in Maryland[1]

Carlos A. Liceaga, P.E.

Electrical and Computer Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

"Explorer Acquisition Manager" at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

For the Explorer Program, leads the development of proposal guidelines; and the technical, management, and cost evaluation of the proposals.

Specialties: Fault-Tolerant Computing, Reliability Modeling

NASA Awards:

2003, 06-Time-Off Award; 1995, 2003, 04, 05-Performance Award; 2002-For A Special Task Award; 1999, 2000, 01-Superior Accomplishment Award; 1998-Certificate of Recognition for Invention Disclosure; 1986-Special Achievement Award.

He is the author and or co-author of 12 publications in the areas of reliability modeling, fault-tolerant computers, space systems, spacecraft simulation, Shuttle/Station subsystems, and space mission proposal guidelines.[11]

Carlos Ortiz Longo

Carlos Ortiz-Longo

Mechanical and Materials Material Science and Engineering

"Manager of the Crew Health Care System and Exercise Countermeasures" at Johnson Space Center, Houston.

Dr.Carlos Ortiz-Longo is currently the engineer, manager who is responsible for designs and maintemance of equipment that helps the crews of the International Space Station (ISS) stay fit; he began his career at NASA around 20 years ago, working on the Space Shuttle thermal protection system or TPS (the tiles) before transitioning into the ISS program, and was a semi-finalist astronaut candidate on the group 16 selection.[28]

NASA Awards and Recognitions:

NASA Group Achievement Award, ORS Flight Experiment, 1986, NASA Productivity Improvement Award, New TCS Blanket Inspection Method, 1989, Golden Eagle Award, TCS Inspection, 1989, NASA Productivity Improvement Award, Thermal Interactive Mission Evaluation System (TIMES-89), 1989, Silver Snoopy Award, STS-40 Payload Bar Door Seal Anomaly, 1991, NASA Fellowship Program, 1992, NASA Group Achievement Award, Shuttle Plume Impingement Flight Experiment, 1995, Space Act Award, Thermal Interactive Mission Evaluation System, 1995, Arkansas&SD Elite Team Award, Letter of Recognition from the Chief of the Automation, Robotics, and Simulation Division, for support given to operational evaluation of the FGB grapple fixture, Space Act Award, Thermal Synthesizer System, TSS, 1996, Letter of Recognition from the NASA Administrator, Daniel S. Goldin, for contributions in the development of the Quantitative Risk Assessment System (QRAS) model, 1997, NASA Group Achievement Award, Space Shuttle Risk Model Team, 1998, NASA Group Achievement Award, Space Station Phase 1 Program Team, 1998, NASA Group Achievement Award, Orbiter Upgrades Definition Team, 1998, Various Outstanding Performance Ratings, and Performance Awards, 1985–1997, Chairman, Thermal and Fluids Analysis Workshop (TFAWS), International Conference, NASA JSC, 1997 and the Silver Snoopy Award.[29]

Debbie Martinez

Debbie Martinez

Computer Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

"Expertise: Flight Simulation" at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia

"Flight Systems and Software Branch" Software manager for the new Cockpit Motion Facility. Martinez's job consists of supporting La RC (Langley Research Center) researcher community with their particular flight research project studies utilizing the La RC simulation facilities. This involves understanding their problem domain, formulating possible solutions, allocating appropriate resources, and ensuring that the results satisfy their researcher's needs.[11][30]

NASA Superior Awards:

1999-Outstanding performance and contributions to the FWP (Outstanding FWPC Representative),1999-Outstanding efforts in overseeing the final HSR simulation study at LaRC, 2001-Support of LaRC OEOP, 2001-2003-CMF DC6 Leadership. Plus numerous NASA Performance, NASA Team Excellence and NASA Group Awards. 1999-"Latina of the Year Award in Science and Technology" by "Latina" magazine.

Lissette Martinez

Lissette Martinez

Electrical Engineer, Rocket Scientist

Martinez is the lead electrical engineer for the Space Experiment Module program at the Wallops Flight Facility which is part of NASA's Goddard Flight Facility.

She is responsible for providing electrical engineering support to Code 870 Space Experiment Module (SEM) program. She also is responsible for the testing of ground and flight hardware. Martinez works with students around the world, helping them with science experiments that will actually ride along on Space Shuttle missions and blast into space.

Martinez was part of the team that launched a rocket from White Sands, New Mexico to gather information on the Hale-Bopp Comet in 1999. She was featured in the November 2002 issue of Latina magazine.[31]

Lourdes E. Miranda

Lourdes E. Miranda

Senior Program Analyst

Miranda co-manages the NASA Sponsored Research and Education Support Services Contract (SRESS). These services include support to the process for soliciting and selecting research investigations for NASA funding; logistical support to workshops and conferences for sponsored research and education; and maintenance of an interactive internet site and electronic database that allow for submission and storage of proposals and associated documentation.

NASA Awards and Recognitions:

2005-she was awarded the NASA Acquisition Improvement Award (AIA) the highest agency acquisition award; recognitions from EPA, CSC, government of Puerto Rico, the University of Puerto Rico, and from the Hispanic community in Washington, D.C.. she was also featured in "Tiempo Latino - Washington Post".[32]

NASA Headquarters located in Washington, D.C.

Mayra N. Montrosa

Executive Officer for the NASA Chief Scientist

Montrosa is responsible for coordinating Science Policy at the Agency at Headquarters located in Washington, D.C. She works with representatives from the NASA research organizations to ensure that the NASA Science Policy is implemented as intended. She is also in charge of developing the NASA implementation to the Federal Policy on Research Misconduct. She works to ensure communication within the Agency research programs and between NASA other Federal Agencies.[33]

Marla E. Perez-Davis

Marla E. Perez-Davis.

Chemical Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

"Chief Electrochemistry Branch" at Glenn Research Center in Ohio.

NASA Awards and Recognitions:

2001-Women of Color Technology Award for Career Achievement, 2001-Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award in Diversity.

Marla E. Perez-Davis holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering.[34]

Mercedes Reaves

Mechanical Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

"Research Engineer" at Langley Research Center in West Virginia

Reaves is responsible for the design of a viable full-scale solar sail and the development and testing of a scale model solar sail. She is also responsible for planning experimental studies to validate analytical techniques and study solar sails dynamics.[35]

Shayla Rivera

Aerospace Engineer

Rivera worked at NASA on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. She left NASA, after working there for 8 years, on account that she wasn't allowed to place a St. Christopher medallion on the Space Shuttle dash board. Rivera discovered that she had a hidden talent as a comedian and used her experiences to create the hit one-woman show "Rocket Science and Salsa," In 2004, Rivera received the “Mario Moreno Cantinflas Award” presented by the city of Los Angeles in recognition of entertainers who "represent the Latino Community with the same humor as the great Cantinflas did" and for her involvement in the community.[36]

Miriam Rodon-Naveira

Miriam Rodon-Naveira

Biology-Aquatic Microbial Ecologist

"Senior Physical Sciences Technical Manager" at Dryden Flight Research Center located in California

Rodon-Naveria is responsible for developing, coordinating and maintaining research and educational activities in support of NASA DFRC mission.[37]

In 1995, she became the first woman minority Branch Chief within the National Exposure Research Laboratory. In 1998, she became the first Hispanic woman to hold the Deputy Directorship for the Environmental Sciences Division within the NERL.[11] Miriam Rodon-Naveria holds a PhD in Biology Aquatic Microbial Ecology.

Miguel Rodríguez

Miguel Rodríguez

Mechanical Engineer

"Chief of the Integration Office of the Cape Canaveral Spaceport Management Office"

Rodríguez is responsible for overall integration of CCSMO functions including assuring the effective base operations, maintenance, sustaining engineering, support services for all NASA at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), 49th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral Air Base Station and Patrick Air Force Base which is provided through the Joint Base Operations and Support Contract.[38]

NASA Awards and Recognitions:

Two NASA Exceptional Medals, KSC Leadership Award and the NASA Silver Snoopy Award.

Otilia I. Rodriguez-Alvarez

Electrical Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist "Solar B Mission Manager/Geospace Instrument Systems Manager" at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland

Ms. Rodriguez-Alvarez began her career with NASA in 1986 at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, where she served as a test engineer with the Space Simulation Test Engineering Section. She then transferred to the Guidance, Navigation, and Control Branch, where she worked on solar array and antenna systems for the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and the X-Ray Timing Explorer (XTE). She later became the lead engineer for the Sensors and Actuators Team on the Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP).

After leaving the Engineering Directorate, she became the Instrument Manager for the Advance Baseline Imager for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) Program. Currently she is the Solar B Mission Manager and the Geospace Instrument Systems Manager in the Sun Earth Connection Office.

Otilia received her B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, and her M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C.[39]

Pedro Rodriguez

Pedro Rodriguez

Mechanical Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

"Director of the test Laboratory in the Engineering Directorate at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center" at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.

Rodriguez is responsible for the engineering services and facilities for in environmental structural and propulsion testing of NASA programs assigned to the Marshall Space Flight Center. Among his duties are research, development, qualification and acceptance testing of critical space and flight hardware, as well as the testing of relevant development hardware.

Rodriguez invented a portable, battery operated seat lift designed for people with degenerative knee arthritis to enable them to stand more easily.

NASA Awards and Recognitions:

NASA's Exceptional Service Medal, NASA Inventors Award, The Silver Snoopy Award, The Marshall Center Directors Commendation Award as the "Outstanding Hispanic Employee". The Puerto Rican Senate recognized Rodriguez with a resolution marking his engineering achievement.

Pedro Rodriguez holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering.[40]

note:Rodriguez is the son of the late Puerto Rican salsa singer Pellin Rodríguez.

Miguel Roman

Miguel O. Roman

Earth System Scientist

Miguel O. Roman is a research physical scientist who in 2009 joined NASA as a civil servant in the Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at Goddard Space Flight Center.[41] He is part of a multi-agency team of Earth and climate scientists in charge of developing and evaluating algorithms for the VIIRS instrument on board the NPP and JPSS satellites. NPP and JPSS will provide continuation of U.S. capability required to observe, protect, and manage our Planet’s resources to promote environmental stewardship; to monitor biophysical processes on the surface of the Earth; and to monitor surface temperatures of land and ocean, chlorophyll fluorescence, and cloud cover and aerosols in the atmosphere.

Roman is also the Land Scientist for NASA’s Cloud Absorption Radiometer;[42] the most frequently used airborne instrument built in-house at NASA Goddard. His research is centrally concerned with the development and application of remote sensing in multi-angle and airborne imaging systems (e.g., MODIS and MISR) to measure and monitor terrestrial essential climate variables for climate change assessment, mitigation, and adaptation.

Monserrate Roman

Monserrate Roman

"Chief Microbiologist" Micro-Biologist at Marshall Flight Space Center in Alabama.

Roman is the Chief Microbiologist for the Environmental Control and Life Support System project. She determines how microbes will behave under different situations and in different locations, such as the nooks and crannies of the Space Station.

She ensures safe water and air for the crew of the International Space Station.[43][43]

Carlos A. Gómez Rosa

Carlos A. Gomez-Rosa

Systems Engineer

2005-2007; Program Director of the EDOS Project; 2007–2009; Mission Operations Manager of the GOES-O Project; 2009–2011; Deputy then Lead Systems Engineer of the GOES-R Ground System Project at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland; 2011–Present; Ground System Manager/Mission Operations Manager of the MAVEN Mission.

Awarded: "2007 Engineering Excellence Award: NASA-GSFC Information Systems Division" for outstanding leadership and exemplary systems engineering support to the EOS Project.

As director of NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Operations System Project, also known by its initials as "EDOS", Gómez Rosa's responsibilities include receiving, processing and distributing the data obtained from five satellites whose function is to study the Earth. Those satellites are "EO-1", "Terra", "Aqua", "ICESat" and "Aura".

EDOS has installations in Norway, Alaska, Wallops Island, Virginia and New Mexico that collect the telemetry from the different the spacecraft. The data is transmitted and received at the Goddard Space Center where under the direction of Gomez Rosa, it is processed and sent to various data centers and scientific groups in the United States, Japan, England, and the Netherlands.

Gomez-Rosa has a degree in Electrical Engineering (Magna Cum Laude) from the University Of Puerto Rico and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Carlos is now in his 21st year at NASA.[1]

Yajaira Sierra Sastre

External video
You may watch and listen to Dr. Yajaira Sierra Sastre during an interview here

"PhD in nanotechnology from Cornell University", Astronaut applicant

Sierra Sastre was chosen to take part in a new NASA project, called "HI-SEAS," an acronym for “Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation,” that will help to determine why astronauts don’t eat enough, having noted that they get bored with spaceship food and end up with problems like weight loss and lethargy that put their health at risk.[44] She lived for four months (March 2013 - August 2013) isolated in a planetary module, which simulated what life will be like for astronauts at a future base on Mars at a base, in Hawaii. According to Sierra Sastre part of the food study will include an attempt to control the exposure to fresh air, evaluate how their senses of smell and taste change over time in isolation, and find out what role food plays in the crew’s spirits and state of mind. Sierra Sastre is an aspiring astronaut.[45][46]

Desiree Santa

Desiree Santa


"Congressional Liaison/Research Opportunity Administrator" at Headquarters located in Washington, D.C.

Management Analyst in the Office of Earth, performing analytical and evaluative work related to the management, organizational efficiency and productivity of program operations.[47]

Juan A. Román Velázquez

Mechanical Engineer, Aero-Space Technologist

"Space projects formulation Manager" at Goddard Space Center in Maryland.

Román Velázquez is in charge of a group of scientists and engineers who are the developers of the advanced concepts usded in the Space missions and whose technologies are to be used in telescopes and interferometry missions.

Felix Soto Toro

Felix Soto Toro

Astronaut applicant, Electrical Designs Engineer at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Soto reviews, designs, builds, tests and implements engineering designs used in the Space Shuttle and Payload Operations Development Laboratories. The main project he developed was the Advanced Payload Transfer Measurement System (ASPTMS)(Electronic 3D measuring system), which consists of a simplified, robust, centrally operated and portable system that automatically measures the spherical coordinates offset between the trunnion and their supports during transfer operations.[48]

NASA Awards and Recognitions:

Soto Toro was presented with the 2003 "El Premio Coqui" by La Casa de Puerto Rico in Florida, for his outstanding contributions in the field of science. On November 9, of that same year, Soto Toro along with another Puerto Rican Astronaut applicant, Henry Bursian Berríos and Ninfa Segarra, who was the first Hispanic Deputy Mayor of New York City, were named the Grand Marshalls of the Puerto Rican Day Parade held in Palm Bay, Florida.[49]

Adolfo Figueroa-Viñas


Figueroa-Viñas is an Astrophysicist of the Physics Extraterrestrial Laboratory at the Goddard Space Center.[1]

Figueroa-Viñas is the first Puerto Rican astrophysicist at NASA working in solar plasma physics. As a senior research scientist he is involved in many NASA missions such as Wind, SOHO, Cluster and MMS projects in which he is the author and co-author of numerous scientific papers in his field. Figueroa-Viñas has served as Guest Co-Investigator of the International Sun Earth Explorer (ISEE-1) mission and the Voyagers program. He is currently a Co-Investigator in the WIND/SWE experiment of the International Solar Terrestrial Program (ISTP) and the Space Physics Theory Program grant entitled The Role of Turbulence in Heliospheric Plasmas. Figueroa-Viñas has participated in the organizing committee of "La Conferencia Espacial de las Américas" held in Costa Rica, Chile and Uruguay. He is the recipient of the NASA Special Service Award.[50]

NASA's Bonzzo Award

Charles Scales, Art Stephenson, and John Rivas with NASA's BONZZO Award

John Rivas from San Juan, Puerto Rico and creator of the comic strip "Bonzzo", designed some special "Bonzzo" strips commemorating NASA's achievements, including "Beyond the Moon", a calendar of the year 2000 honoring Hispanic heritage. NASA also instated the Bonzzo Award, a pint-size Bonzzo statue that will be given annually to the individual who makes the biggest contribution to NASA's Hispanic program.[51]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Prensa RUM
  2. ^ Acaba
  3. ^ Cintron
  4. ^ NASA
  5. ^ NASA (February 2006). "Astronaut Bio: Joseph Acaba".  
  6. ^ NASA. "NASA Hispanic Astronauts". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved 2006-11-26. 
  7. ^ NASA. "Astronaut Class of 2004 (Group 19)". NASA. Retrieved 2006-11-26. 
  8. ^ "Launch Schedule: Consolidated Launch Manifest". NASA. Retrieved March 2, 2009. 
  9. ^ Flight Projects DirectorateDiversity Council Strategic Plan
  10. ^ Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS) Mission
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hispanics@NASA LaRC Employees' Achievements
  12. ^ Latina Women in NASA
  13. ^ HENAAC
  14. ^ 100 Most Influential-Hispanic magazine
  15. ^ NASA Scientist Recognized As Innovator
  16. ^ Del Rio
  17. ^ Diaz
  18. ^ "Dark Matter".  
  19. ^ "NSF Award #0847342L Increasing the Dark Matter Science Reach of the SuperCDMS Experiment". National Science Foundation. February 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  20. ^ a b "Dr. Enectali Figueroa-Feliciano". Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA. Archived from the original on 2006-09-30. Retrieved 2006-11-09. 
  21. ^ a b "MIT Physics Faculty: Enectali Figueroa-Feliciano". Physics Department, MIT. Retrieved 2006-11-09. 
  22. ^ a b Orlando Figueroa
  23. ^ Gonzalez-Sanabria
  24. ^ Hernandez-Pellerano
  25. ^ G. Hernandez
  26. ^ Delgado-Holton
  27. ^ LaFontaine
  28. ^ "About the Exercise Countermeasures Project"
  29. ^ "Carlos Ortiz Longo"
  30. ^ D. Martinez
  31. ^ WALLOPS - L. Martinez
  32. ^ Miranda
  33. ^ Montrosa
  34. ^ Perez-Davis
  35. ^ Reaves
  36. ^ Latino Comedy
  37. ^ Rodon-Naveria
  38. ^ Miguel Rodríguez
  39. ^ Rodriguez-Alvarez
  40. ^ NASA News
  41. ^ "Miguel Roman". NASA-GSFC. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  42. ^ "NASA:Cloud Absorption Radiometer". NASA. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  43. ^ a b Roman
  44. ^ Name (2012-07-10). "VIDEO: NASA Mars food mission crew named". Retrieved 2013-09-20. 
  45. ^ Yajaira Sierra One Step Closer to Becoming First Puerto Rican Woman in Space
  46. ^ Yajaira Sierra dreams of being 1st Puerto Rican woman in space
  47. ^ Santa
  48. ^ What's happening at NASA
  49. ^ Festivities to Mark Puerto Rican Day Parade
  50. ^ NASA bio.
  51. ^ NASA News

External links

  • Hispanics@NASA LaRC
  • Latinas Women Of NASA
  • NASA Hispanics Astronauts
  • Prensa RUM
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