José has over 31 year’s experience in cutting edge high-technology endeavors. Beginning in 1987 thru 1999, José served at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) where he worked on a variety of projects including the development of a space deployed X-Ray laser as part of the Strategic Defense Initiative. He co-developed the first full-field digital mammography system for the earlier detection of breast cancer and he served as the Deputy Program Manager of the Highly Enriched Uranium Implementation program. In 1999, José was invited to the Department of Energy Headquarters in Washington DC to serve as the Laboratory’s Program Manager in the Office of International Material Protection and Cooperation.
In 2001, José joined the NASA Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas where he worked as the Branch Chief of the Materials and Processes Branch. There he oversaw the branch’s activities in the areas of materials and processes, fracture control, nondestructive evaluation, failure analysis, and Nanomaterials research. José was selected by NASA as a member of the 19th class of astronauts in 2004. After completing his training, he was selected as the flight engineer for the 14-day STS-128 Space Shuttle mission and flew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station.
After STS-128, José was assigned to work at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. where he served as a Legislative Analyst and helped in the development of space policy, NASA’s annual budget package and served as liaison with key Congressional members. Additional duties included the development of an effective strategy that promoted the President’s new vision on Space Exploration.
Today, in addition to his position on the Board of Advisors of Aphelion Aerospace, José works as a consultant within the company he founded in 2012, Tierra Luna Engineering, LLC. Here, he works on his areas of interest that include aerospace consulting, renewable energy, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) outreach.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of the Pacific, Stockton, California and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was also awarded 7 honorary doctorate degrees including from his alma mater, the University of the Pacific.