Born February 19th 1952 in Chilpancingo, Guerrero Mexico. Dr. Vela is a Scientist and Astronaut who flew on STS-61-B on the space shuttle Atlantis in 1985. Dr. Vela is the first Mexican and only at this point to have traveled to space. He was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1991. Dr. Vela is also the author of many articles and books.
He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic/Mechanical Engineering, with specialization in communications technology, from the Nacional Autonomas University of México (UNAM). In 1976, he earned a Master of Science degree, specializing in telecommunications systems from the University of Essex, England. He received a Ph.D. in electromagnetic radiation from the University of Birmingham, England in 1979, then conducted a year of postdoctoral research in waveguides there.
“Mexico es un pais que tiene recursos humanos extraordinarios jente que quiere hacer investigasion espacial, mucha juventud que tambien tiene sueños de participar en los programas espaciales y seguramente de combertirse en astronautas”
Dr. Vela then returned to Mexico, working as an engineer, director of projects, adviser, and Professor of Radio Communications in the Institute of Electrical Investigations, the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation, the Secretariat of the National Defense, the UNAM, and several museums of science and technology.
Dr. Vela became Mexico’s first astronaut, as a mission specialist for the joint NASA/European Space Agency mission STS-61B on November 27, 1985. He spent 165 hours in outer space aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis, helping to place in orbit the Mexican satellite Morelos 2. STS-61B launched at night from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and returned to land at Edwards Air Force Base, California on December 3. During the mission Vela also conducted several experiments for the Mexican Government, and tested the Orbiter Experiments Digital Autopilot. On this flight, Dr. Neri Vela traveled 2.4 million miles in 108 Earth orbits, and logged 6.88 days in space.
“El govierno tiene que invertir en mejorar las escuelas en mejorar los centros de investigacion en vijilar que realmente haya eficiensia ”
From 1989 to 1990, Neri Vela helped plan a portion of the International Space Station for the European Space Agency while working in Holland. Dr. Neri Vela has since worked at the Institute of Electrical Research, Mexico, in the Radio communications Group, doing research and system planning on antennas and satellite communications systems. He has also been Head of the Department of Planning and Engineering of the Morelos Satellite Program at the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation, and is now a Professor in the Faculty of Engineering of the UNAM. He is a lecturer and instructor of courses on satellites, and astronautics in various institutions of higher education in different parts of the world, and has participated in many national and international congresses.
“Mexico tambien es grande Mexico tambien tiene cosas muy positivas, la prueba de que yo tambien estoy combensido es porque yo no me fui a vivir al exterior, ofertas tuve para quedarme a trabajar en el extranjero, pero a mi me gusta Mexico quiero a Mexico ser el primer astronauta de Mexico me ha sido un gran privilejio y una gran responsabilidad”
After listening to so many of his interview and reading about Dr. Vela I most admire the way he so freely expresses his concerns with the Mexican governments lack of funding for Science and Space exploration. I love that his hopes are kept high by Mexicos youth and their interest in space research and their dreams of becoming astronauts themselves. Dr. Vela is part of what makes Mexico so great he is truly and Amazing Mexican!
Entrevista con el Astronauta Mexicano Rodolfo Neri Vela
Sueños de México – Rodolfo Neri Vela