Yuri’s Night 2012 – Executive Team

Yuri’s Night Press Release:

It’s been less than four months since we celebrated the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight with Yuri’s Night 2011, but it’s already time for us to start gearing up for 2012. Over the last two months, we’ve received dozens of fantastic applications for this year’s Executive, and we’re pleased to announce the official composition of our 2012 Global Team.

“Not only do this year’s new arrivals include leaders of such organizations as Astronauts4Hire, SEDS, and the Federation of Galaxy Explorers,” said Assistant Director Brice Russ, “but we’re bringing back most of the YN11 Global Team members that made last year’s festivities such a resounding success. I’m extremely excited to see what we can accomplish this year.”

As with last year, the 2012 Executive will be split up into four teams–Operations, Outreach, Media, and Digi.

(Italicized names below indicate returning members)

OPERATIONS TEAM: (led by Executive Director Ryan Kobrick)
Chief Financial Officer (and Assistant Director) – Tim Bailey
Chief Strategist/Director of Event Expansion – Nicholas de Leon
Director of Marketing – Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto
Contest Manager – Greg Wagner
Directors of Special Projects – Marcia Fiamengo, Alan Steinberg
Director of Awesome – Carolyn Belle

Directors of Outreach: Ray Sanders, H. Aziz Kayihan
Regional Outreach (US): Rayna Hall
Regional Outreach (International): Sudeep Neupane
Science Center Outreach: Cat Aboudara
Middle/High School Outreach: Mikayla Diesch
College Outreach: Abby Dickes
Regional Outreach (Europe): Dorian Bozicevic, Maria Pflug-Hofmayr
Regional Outreach (Asia): Nur Liyana Che Md Azim
Regional Outreach (Middle East): Amin Jamshidi, Serkan Yildiz, Nouf Al-Jalaud

MEDIA TEAM: (led by Assistant Director Brice Russ):
Web Content Coordinators: David Parmet, Rick Hanton
Director of Social Media: Jen Scheer
Media Liaison: Rob Shannon

DIGITEAM: (led by Master of Electrons Jeffrey Alles)
Geospatial Coder: Rocky Persaud
Apps Developer: Stephen Prater
Webcast Producer: Benjamin Higginbotham
Webcast Coordinator: Brian Simmons
Rick Hanton and Jen Scheer will also serve as DigiTeam members as needed.

Loretta Whitesides and Chris Lewicki also return as members of the Yuri’s Night Board of Directors, along with Ryan Kobrick, Tim Bailey and Brice Russ.

School science experiments launched into space on Endeavour’s final flight

Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto
Image Credit: Veronica Ann
Zabala-Aliberto ©2011

Science has been a part of the Space Shuttle Program from the very beginning. The Most recent mission, STS-134, was no exception. Endeavour, making its final flight, carried a pallet of micro gravity experiments created by students from around the United States.

Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto from Rancho Santa Fe Elementary in Litchfield, Arizona, spent more than a month at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida helping to set up and analyze the experiments. She was responsible for loading the experiments for the flight aboard Endeavour, and for retrieving the experiments once the space shuttle had landed.

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program , which gives schoolchildren the ability to design real experiments that fly in low Earth orbit, was begun by National Center for Earth and Space Science Education in June of 2010. Children from around the country posed questions such as:

  • “Can honey be used as a preservative on long duration space flights?”
  • “How does exposure to microgravity affect the swimming patterns and development of zebra fish?”

Videos showing the lab work can be seen on ustream, and a description of the program is at STEMStream TV.

Student teams submitted 447 proposals, from which 16 were selected—one for each community. You can visit the SSEP Community Network Hubsite for the list of winning proposals. And a second Student Spaceflight Experiments Program opportunity was created when STS-135 Atlantis was added to the space shuttle flight manifest.

Veronica is the Arizona regional coordinator for the Planetary Society, at-large director for the National Space Society, president of the Arizona regional coordinator for the Planetary Society, at-large director for the National Space Society, president of the Phoenix chapter of the National Space Society, commander of the Family Living Analysis on Mars Expedition and co-founder of the non-profit organization, Astronauts4Hire.

Veronica Will Speak at the Phoenix Astronomical Society

PAS AZ January 2011


The Phoenix Astronomical Society will host its next meeting on Thursday 6 January at Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) in room G-147. The meeting room opens at 7 pm, and the meeting starts at 7:30, and goes to 9:15. Bring a snack to share. Bottled water will be provided by PAS.

The previous meeting on 2 December meeting featured Richard Greenberg from Tucson, who did a very interesting presentation on Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter.

11 January is the Centennial School Star Party from 5:30 – 8pm.

13 January is the PAS Telescope Workshop & Star Party at PVCC from 7pm to 10pm by the Telescope Dome.

22 January is the PARTY OF THE YEAR! The PAS Social.

Consult the PAS Times for additional information.

The speaker at this month’s meeting on 6 January, is Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto astronauts4hire 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).


Image Credit: Astronauts4Hire
Astronauts4Hire wants to create the first pool of private astronauts to support the emerging suborbital research industry.

A commercial spaceflight revolution is underway. Within a few years, private companies will provide routine access to space. Besides wealthy tourists, scientists are among those poised to benefit since they can use the new spacecraft as platforms to perform research in microgravity. The demand for skilled commercial scientist-astronauts to aid in this new industry is growing rapidly. Astronauts4Hire wants to create the first pool of private astronauts to fill this need. In doing so, we hope to demonstrate that space is accessible by anyone and inspire the next generation to pursue careers in space.

From their website, we have the following related stories and sources:

Commercial Suborbital Science in the News:

More information:

NSS At Large Election – Veronica Zabala-Aliberto

Veronica Zabala-Aliberto, President of the Phoenix Chapter of the National Space Society, is running for one of the At Large Director positions on the board of the National Space Society. Please review Veronica’s Resume below, and then print out the Petition, sign it along with any of your friends who are also members of The National Space Society.

Mail the completed petitions to NSS HQ marked ” Petitions Enclosed” asap. Petitions must be received by close of business, 15 January 2010:

ATTN: Bret Silcox
1155 15th Street NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20005



Veronica Mentioned On The Space Show

For those of you who have not discovered Dr. David Livingston and The Space Show, here’s your chance to catch up. The July 10, 2009 edition featured Maria Catalina:

Maria is now a middle school teacher of math and science, a JPL NASA Solar System Ambassador and on the Board of Directors for the National Space Society San Diego Chapter.

During the show, Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto, Phoenix Chapter President, received several mentions in conjunction with an upcoming project that she is working on for 2010.