When the space shuttle Atlantis lifts off at 4:38 p.m. PDT, June 8, Sacramento State’s Jose Granda will be relaying its mission information to Spanish-speaking members of the world-wide press.
Granda left Sunday for the NASA Ames Research Center in the Bay Area, invited to explore the engineering relationships between universities and the space agency. At the same time, he will be the official Spanish voice of STS 117, serving as the liaison for Univision, and Spanish voice radio stations and newspapers throughout North and South America.
The mission’s objectives include rotating crew members from the international space station and installing new solar panels.
A Sacramento State engineering professor for 24 years, Granda was first involved with the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, two years ago, helping the space agency with computer models created at the University. The 3-D simulations help designers understand how items, such as the space station’s robotic arm, will work and withstand stresses in specific areas.
As he got to know the men and women in Mission Control, they learned to appreciate his ability to communicate technical subjects in non-technical terms. So, when NASA’s public affairs department was looking for someone to work with the Spanish-speaking press, Granda’s name came up, and he served as the spokesperson for the July 2005 launch of the shuttle Discovery.
For the professor, it’s literally a dream come true.
“Since I was 10 years old, I always wondered what it would be like to be one of those guys at the controls,” Granda says.
His NASA involvement doesn’t end with this mission. After Atlantis lands, Granda will head to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to continue his project and watch the launch of the shuttle Discovery on August 9.
For media assistance, call Sacramento State’s Public Affairs Office at (916) 278-6156.
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