Luis Zea was raised in Guatemala City in a family where education, hard work and ethics were of paramount importance. Early on his childhood, he learned the basic principles of how rockets worked through educational books. Since so much of the information was in English, it became a natural incentive for him to start learning the language. As he learned about NASA, he also found out there were other space agencies throughout the world, and this motivated him to learn German and Portuguese as well. Needless to say, space exploration became his goal and the catalyst for other goals of personal improvement.
Universidad del Valle de Guatemala and then obtained a M.S. in Aerospace Engineering – Thermofluid Aerodynamic Systems at the University of Central Florida. There, he was involved with the development of the structure for a pico-satellite and with its payload: a Micro-Wave Electrothermal Thruster (plasma thruster) at Cape Canaveral. During his masters, Luis conducted research at the Florida Space Institute on gas kinetics on multi-phase flow and on CO2 sequestration for air revitalization purposes. For more on his UCF activities, see http://www.intl.ucf.edu/index.cfm?PageID=226
He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Bioastronautics at the University of Colorado at Boulder while working for a Space Life Sciences research center. There, he assists Principal Investigators from academia and industry develop hardware and documentation to successfully fly their experiments in the ISS, American or Russian spacecrafts, overseeing the project from Proposal and R&D through operational support while in space to post-flight operations.
Additionally, Luis was the Crew 65 Engineer at the Mars Desert Research Station, a Mars Society-led analog site, where he conducted analog EVAs and research on EVA emergency scenarios He has worked in industry as a Mechanical and as a Heat Transfer Engineer. Luis has been a proud Red Cross volunteer for years and is a certified Life Guard and SCUBA diver. Personally, Luis thinks that there is nothing more gratifying than doing what one likes. In his case, that is helping bring a space-faring future to our lifetime.