Rodolfo Neri Vela bigraphy, stories - Astronauts

Rodolfo Neri Vela : biography

19 February 1952 -

Rodolfo Neri Vela (born 19 February 1952) is a Mexican scientist and astronaut who flew aboard a NASA Space Shuttle mission in the year 1985. He is the first and only Mexican, and the second Latin-American to have traveled to space.


Neri received a bachelor's degree in mechanical and electrical engineering, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) 1975, and received a master's degree in science, specialized in telecommunications systems, in 1976 from the University of Essex, England. Neri then received a doctorate degree in electromagnetic radiation from the University of Birmingham in 1979, and performed one year of postdoctoral research in waveguides at the University of Birmingham.


Neri was born in Chilpancingo de los Bravo, Guerrero, Mexico. He is a professor for the Telecommunications Department in the Electrical Engineering Division of the Engineering Faculty, at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He is Mexican born of Spanish and Italian ancestry.


The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, U.S.; The Institution of Electrical Engineers, UK; Asociación Mexicana de Ingenieros en Comunicaciones Eléctricas y Electrónicas, Mexico; and Colegio de Ingenieros Mecánicos y Electricistas, Mexico.

Neri has worked at the Institute of Electrical Research, Mexico, in the Radiocommunications Group, doing research and system planning on antenna theory and design, satellite communications systems, and Earth station technology.

He is currently also a full-time researcher at the Electric Engineering department of the Faculty of Engineering at UNAM.


Neri was a Payload Specialist aboard the STS-61-B Atlantis mission, from (November 26 to December 3, 1985). STS-61B launched at night from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and returned to land at Edwards Air Force Base, California. During the mission the crew deployed the MORELOS-B, AUSSATT II, and SATCOM K-2 communications satellites, conducted two six-hour spacewalks to demonstrate space station construction techniques with the EASE/ACCESS experiments, operated the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis (CRFES) experiment for McDonell Douglas and a Getaway Special (GAS) container for Telesat, Canada, conducted several Mexican Payload Specialists Experiments for the Mexican government, and tested the Orbiter Experiments Digital Autopilot (OEX DAP).

At mission conclusion, Neri had traveled 2.4 million miles (3.8 million km) in 108 Earth orbits, and logged over 165 hours in space.

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