Rodolfo Neri Vela
Rodolfo Neri Vela is a Mexican
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

A scientist in a broad sense is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist is an individual who uses the scientific method. The person may be an expert in one or more areas of science. This article focuses on the more restricted use of the word...

 and astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

 who flow aboard a NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 mission in 1985. He is the first and only Mexican, and then the second Latin-American, to have traveled to space.


Neri was born in Chilpancingo de los Bravo, Guerrero
Guerrero officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Guerrero is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 81 municipalities and its capital city is Chilpancingo....

, 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
National Autonomous University of Mexico
The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México is a university in Mexico. UNAM was founded on 22 September 1910 by Justo Sierra as a liberal alternative to the Roman Catholic-sponsored Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) (National Autonomous...

 (UNAM). He is Mexican born of Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 and Italian
Italian people
The Italian people are an ethnic group that share a common Italian culture, ancestry and speak the Italian language as a mother tongue. Within Italy, Italians are defined by citizenship, regardless of ancestry or country of residence , and are distinguished from people...



Neri received a bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 in mechanical
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

 and electrical engineering
Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical...

, National Autonomous University of Mexico
National Autonomous University of Mexico
The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México is a university in Mexico. UNAM was founded on 22 September 1910 by Justo Sierra as a liberal alternative to the Roman Catholic-sponsored Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) (National Autonomous...

 (UNAM) 1975, and received a master's degree
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

 in science, specialized in telecommunications systems, in 1976 from the University of Essex
University of Essex
The University of Essex is a British campus university whose original and largest campus is near the town of Colchester, England. Established in 1963 and receiving its Royal Charter in 1965...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. Neri then received a doctorate degree in electromagnetic radiation
Electromagnetic radiation
Electromagnetic radiation is a form of energy that exhibits wave-like behavior as it travels through space...

 from the University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Birmingham, England. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Birmingham Medical School and Mason Science College . Birmingham was the first Redbrick university to gain a charter and thus...

 in 1979, and performed one year of postdoctoral research in waveguides at the University of Birmingham.


The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

; The Institution of Electrical Engineers
Institution of Electrical Engineers
The Institution of Electrical Engineers was a British professional organisation of electronics, electrical, manufacturing, and Information Technology professionals, especially electrical engineers. The I.E.E...

, 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
Antenna (radio)
An antenna is an electrical device which converts electric currents into radio waves, and vice versa. It is usually used with a radio transmitter or radio receiver...

 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
Faculty of Engineering (UNAM)
The Faculty of Engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico is one of the most prestigious engineering schools in Mexico. At the undergraduate level, it offers twelve different majors. The faculty also offers some graduate programs...

 at UNAM.


Neri was a Payload Specialist
Payload Specialist
A Payload Specialist ' was an individual selected and trained by commercial or research organizations for flights of a specific payload on a NASA Space Shuttle mission...

 aboard the STS-61-B
STS-61-B was NASA's 23rd Space Shuttle mission, and its second using Space Shuttle Atlantis. The shuttle was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 26 November 1985. During STS-61-B, the shuttle crew deployed three communications satellites, and tested techniques of constructing...

Space Shuttle Atlantis
The Space Shuttle Atlantis is a retired Space Shuttle orbiter in the Space Shuttle fleet belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration , the spaceflight and space exploration agency of the United States...

 mission, from (November 26 to December 3, 1985). STS-61B launched at night from Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center
The John F. Kennedy Space Center is the NASA installation that has been the launch site for every United States human space flight since 1968. Although such flights are currently on hiatus, KSC continues to manage and operate unmanned rocket launch facilities for America's civilian space program...

, Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, and returned to land at Edwards Air Force Base
Edwards Air Force Base
Edwards Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located on the border of Kern County, Los Angeles County, and San Bernardino County, California, in the Antelope Valley. It is southwest of the central business district of North Edwards, California and due east of Rosamond.It is named in...

, California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. During the mission the crew deployed the MORELOS-B, AUSSATT II, and SATCOM K-2 communications satellites, conducted two six-hour spacewalks
Extra-vehicular activity
Extra-vehicular activity is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth, and outside of a spacecraft. The term most commonly applies to an EVA made outside a craft orbiting Earth , but also applies to an EVA made on the surface of the Moon...

 to demonstrate space station
Space station
A space station is a spacecraft capable of supporting a crew which is designed to remain in space for an extended period of time, and to which other spacecraft can dock. A space station is distinguished from other spacecraft used for human spaceflight by its lack of major propulsion or landing...

 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
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, 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.

External links

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