The speaker at this month’s meeting on 6 January, is Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto from the Phoenix chapter of the National Space Society. Her topic is “Astronauts for hire”. Astronauts for Hire is a non-profit corporation whose members are available for hire by researchers to conduct experiments, including parabolic trajectory microgravity research flights. Astronauts4Hire serves as the matchmaker among the suborbital research community, training providers, and spaceflight operators.
Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto has lived and traveled across the United States and Canada. She has had the opportunity to work on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover missions, the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission and was the Coordinator for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera located within the Science Operations Center at Arizona State University.
As Commander of the Family Living Analysis on Mars Expedition (F.L.A.M.E.) from 2005-present, Zabala-Aliberto has gained expertise in lunar and martian analogue studies, human factors adaption and education outreach. Mission highlights included that of commanding international crews to the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) which are noted to be the first lunar and martian studies to incorporate children under the age of eighteen in a series of analogue missions. During her field seasons at MDRS, she accumulated a total of 150 EVA hours with a total of combined lunar/Martian simulation time of 320 hours.
In addition to being an avid adventurer, aviation enthusiast and noted space activist, Zabala-Aliberto spends most of her time educating and inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers and explorers and promotes robotic and human space exploration and settlement. She has been invited to give keynotes and lectures from various venues such at the NASA Summer Mars and Robotics Camp to various scientific and leisure conventions and conferences.
She currently serves as the Phoenix, Arizona Chapter President for the National Space Society (Chapter President 2000present, Board of Directors 2006-2008) and
just recently won an election to serve as an At-Large Director for the National Space Society (2010-2014). She has been a Mars Society Phoenix Chapter member (Chapter President from 2000-2006, Chapter member from 2000-present), Jet Propulsion Laboratory Solar System Ambassador (2004-present), Planetary Society State Coordinator (2006-2009), Yuri’s Night Coordinator for Phoenix, Arizona (2008-present), and Geological Society of America member (2008-present).