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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dr. Pedro Rodriguez

Dr. Pedro Rodriguez, Ph.D., (born 1953), is the Director of a test laboratory at NASA and inventor of a portable, battery-operated lift seat for people suffering from knee arthritis.[1]


Early years

Pedro Rodriguez was born in Brooklyn, New York to the Puerto Rican salsa singer, Pellin Rodriguez and Elba Lopez Perez, who met in New York while Pellin's band was touring. Rodriguez is the first of three children for the couple. As a child, Rodriguez was always surrounded by musical instruments and by personalities from the entertainment world. He wanted to become a musician like his father, but his father objected because he wanted Pedro to get a college education. The family settled in the city of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. There, young Pedro started to become more interested in the field of science than in the field of music. During his school years, he excelled in the subjects of math and science. In 1971, Rodriguez graduated from La Salle High School with honors.[1]

Rodriguez enrolled in the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez and changed majors four times before deciding to become an engineer. He earned a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering in 1976. That same year, recruiters from NASA were conducting interviews at the campus. He was hired by NASA as an engineer, designing special test equipment at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. Since then, Rodriguez has held several positions at NASA.[2]

Career in NASA

Rodriguez enrolled in the University of Alabama to pursue a masters degree. While pursuing his masters, Rodriguez moved to Florida and worked on jet engines for NASA contractor Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies company. He earned his masters degree in mechanical engineering in 1986. In 1997, he earned his doctorate in civil engineering, from the University of Mississippi..[1]

Rodriguez was the leader of the Solid Rocket Booster accident investigation team following the Space Shuttle Columbia accident in February 2003 and was also the project manager for the Space Launch Initiative program. Rodriguez is currently the Director of the test laboratory in the Engineering Directorate at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. He is responsible for the engineering services and facilities for environmental, structural, and propulsion testing of NASA programs assigned to the Marshall Space Flight Center. Among his duties are: research, development, qualification, and acceptance testing of critical space and flight hardware, as well as the testing of relevant development hardware.[2]

Written works

Among the written works authored or co-authored by Rodriguez are the following:

  • "On the analytical determination of relaxation modulus of viscoelastic materials by Prony's interpolation method" (1986)

Document ID: 19870008022; Report Number: NAS 1.1586579, NASA-TM-86579

  • "Application Of Prony's Method To Data On Viscoelasticity" (1988)

Document ID: 19880000452; Report Number: MFS-27179

  • "On the design of structural components using materials with time-dependent properties" (1993)

Document ID: 19940012046; Report Number: NAS 1.15108428, NASA-TM-108428

  • "AXAF hypervelocity impact test results" (1997)

Document ID: 19980005952

  • "Introduction Aims and Requirements of Future Aerospace Vehicles" (2001)

Document ID: 20010020951

  • "MPLM On-Orbit Interface Dynamic Flexibility Modal Test" (2001)

Document ID: 20010020953[3]

Awards and recognitions

Among the awards and recognitions bestowed upon Rodriguez are: NASA's Exceptional Service Medal, NASA Inventors Award for the invention of the portable, battery-operated lift seat for people suffering from knee arthritis [1], the Silver Snoopy Award, and The Marshall Center Directors Commendation Award as "Outstanding Hispanic Employee". The Puerto Rican Senate recognized Dr. Rodriguez with a resolution marking his engineering achievement.

Personal life

Dr. Rodriguez is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He currently resides in Huntsville, Alabama.


See also

External links



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