03 July 2011

A4H Members Support Payloads on Final Shuttle Flight

After three decades, the Space Shuttle era will draw to a close as Space Shuttle Atlantis embarks on the STS-135 mission later this week. We are proud to announce that two A4H members have supported payload integration for experiments to be flown on the final Shuttle flight.

Luis Zea assembling hardware for STS-135
Luis Zea is part of a group currently at the Kennedy Space Center integrating several payloads on STS-135. These payloads comprise multiple scientific research objectives and experiments such as cell culture investigation, assessment of risk to biological integrity from the space environment, as well as the development of a new salmonella vaccine. Luis' job covers the life of a space-based research project from concept design, research & development, testing, documentation, integration, operations, all the way through to post-landing recovery and processing.

After this final Shuttle flight, he will continue working on projects planned to leave the planet on SpaceX spacecrafts, as well as Japanese and European transfer vehicles. Working at the intersection of industry, government, and academia as part of the BioServe Space Technologies team, Luis has immersed himself with a wide range of out-of-this-world projects with Principal Investigators from NASA, university and private research programs.

V.A. Zabala-Aliberto in the SSEP lab (©2011)
As she did in May 2011 during the STS-134 mission, A4H co-founder Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto will also work from the Kennedy Space Center during the STS-135 mission loading microgravity student experiments into experiment racks bound for the International Space Station through the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). During their payload integration activities, Veronica Ann and the SSEP team will also provide education and outreach to the public via live streaming USTREAM broadcasts. When Atlantis lands at the end of July 2011, she will focus her attention on the extraction of the payloads, making observations of the experiments under the microscope, and shipping then them off to the students and other Principal Investigators from around the world.

Zabala-Aliberto, who has previously worked on microgravity payloads for students and nonprofits, is no stranger to the space community. She has spent the last decade educating and inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers through her work on the Mars Exploration Rovers, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, and Mars Express missions.

To commemorate Luis' and Veronica Ann's work supporting this historic mission, as well as A4H's capabilities for payload and experiment operation, we are launching a social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook during the STS-135 mission and A4H's training activities to raise awareness of Astronauts4Hire.

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