Smithsonian invites UND space suit builder Pablo de Leon as keynote speaker
Pablo de Leon, an Argentine aerospace engineer and research associate in the University of North Dakota Department of Space Studies, has been invited by the Smithsonian Latino Center to be the keynote speaker at an international event Saturday, Oct. 16, in Washington, D.C.
De Leon, known globally for his pioneering space suit design and human spaceflight lab at UND, will participate in the Smithsonian’s Family Day, a celebration of the bicentennial of Argentina’s independence hosted by the National Air and Space Museum, in partnership with the Smithsonian Latino Center.
The Smithsonian’s letter of invitation says, in part, “Given your vast experience and range of activities in the aerospace industry, we would be honored if you were able to participate in this event.”
The Smithsonian Latino Center
The Smithsonian Latino Center is a division of the Smithsonian Institution dedicated to promoting and advancing Latino contributions to the arts, sciences, and humanities.
As part of its mission, the Smithsonian Latino Center, in partnership with the Secretariat of Culture of the Nation of Argentina and other Smithsonian museums and cultural organizations, is presenting the series “Argentina at the Smithsonian 2010” to highlight different aspects of Argentine culture, history, art, and science in celebration of the bicentennial of Argentina’s independence.
About Pablo de Leon
Pablo de Leon has two decades as an aerospace engineer with experience in space project management and space suit design and Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVA). He is a research associate in the area of extravehicular activities and space suit design in the UND Department of Space Studies. De Leon also is working as project manager of several NASA-funded programs on planetary space suit design. He has led numerous widely covered expeditions to test various space suits developed and built by his UND team.
De Leon worked with the Space Shuttle as payload manager and general designer of the Project PADE (G-761) science experiments package. These experiments completed all NASA certifications and flew on mission
STS-108 to the International Space Station in December 2001.This project carried seven experiments and performed flawlessly during the 12 day space flight.
De Leon was also payload manager for the Pehuensat project, an educational Argentine satellite launched from India in 2007.
His prior experience was as chief designer and fabrications manager for several, underwater-simulation, (EVA) analog, pressure suit systems.
Pablo has flown, as payload specialist, in the NASA KC-135 aircraft more than 80 weightless parabolas carrying four Zero-G fluid dynamics experiments.
De Leon has published several books and reports about space, with a special interest in manned space flight. One of these books entitled
"108 Minutes in Space" documents the first flight of a human in space.
He founded a magazine of space exploration, is currently editor in chief of the "Latin-American Journal of Space Science and Technology”
and wrote a book about the history of the space program in Argentina.
De Leon co-founded the Latin American Space Association (Asociación Latinoamericana del Espacio www.alespacio.org). He is one of the original competitors in the X Prize.
In 2009 he received a three-year $750,000 grant from NASA to develop an inflatable planetary base concept demonstrator, a pressurized lunar rover and a compatible spacesuit system. This project is now being developed at UND.