Encyclopedia Astronautica

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Malerba, Franco Egidio (1946-) Italian biologist payload specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-46. First Italian astronaut. ESA; STS-46 Mission TSS-1.

Educated Genova.

NASA Official Biography

NAME: Franco Malerba (Ph.D.)
ASI Astronaut (Payload Specialist)

Born October 10, 1946, in Genova, Italy. Married to the former Marie-Aude Némo. They have one child. Recreational interests include mountaineering, skiing, and tennis. He is fluent in Italian, English, and French.

1965Maturita classica (Lyceum).
1970University degree, Electronics Engineer, University of Genova, Italy, specializing in the telecommunications field (laurea 110/110 cum Laude).
1974Doctorate in Physics, University of Genova, (110/110) specializing in Biophysics (after research work at the Italian National Research Council and at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA).

Founding Member of the Italian Space Society (ISS).

1970-75Research Assistant at the Italian National Research Council (CNR) Laboratorio de Biofisica e Cibernetica (Genova) carrying experimental work on membrane biophysics (using squid axons) and biological membrane modeling with lipid bilayers.
1971Lecturer of Cybernetics and Information Theory at the Physics Faculty, University of Genova.
1972Summer Research Assistant at the Nato Saclant Research Center (La Spezia, Italy) working on computer-aided signal detection methodologies for sonar data systems.
1972-74Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland) designing, developing, testing and using a fast micro-spectrophotometer for research on photoreceptors biophysics (using frog retinas).
1977-80In 1977, Dr. Malerba was chosen by the European Space Agency (ESA) as one of four European Payload Specialist Candidates for the first Spacelab mission. After this selection he became a staff member at the European Technical Center (ESTEC) of ESA Space Science Department, Space Plasma Physics Division, working in the development, testing, and qualification of ES020 - PICPAB, an experiment in Ionospheric Plasma Physics for the first Spacelab payload, flown in 1983, involving the use of accelerated charged particle beams (cooperation involved French CNRS/CRPE, Norwegian NRDE and ESTEC).

1976-89Held technical and technical management positions with Digital Equipment in Italy and in Europe. He worked mainly in the field of multiprocessor systems (Paris 1976, Milan 1977), computer networks engineering (Geneva 1981-85), and telecommunications technology (Rome 1986-88, and Sophia Antipolis in 1989).

Reserve Officer, Italian Navy. Served in 1974-75 (Sottotenente Armi Navali); was assigned to the Destroyer San Giorgio as Science Lecturer to the Navy Academy, and then to the Mariperman Technical Center in La Spezia working on ELF transmission systems.

Obtained scuba diving license from the Calypso Scuba Club, Geneva (1984).

Obtained Private Pilot License (College Park, Washington, D.C., 1973) and then the equivalent Italian flying license.

After the Payload Specialist selection in 1989 by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and NASA for the TSS-1 mission, he became a staff member of ASI and was assigned to the NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, for training. In September 1991, he was designated Prime Payload Specialist for the TSS-1 mission. Dr. Malerba flew as the first Italian citizen in space on STS-46 (July 31, 1992 to August 7, 1992). He is now involved with the Italian Space Agency (ASI) manned space flight program follow-on activities.


Birth Place: Genova.
Status: Inactive.

Born: 1946.10.10.
Spaceflights: 1 .
Total time in space: 7.97 days.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
Associated Flights
  • STS-46 Crew: Allen Andy, Chang-Diaz, Hoffman, Ivins, Malerba, Nicollier, Shriver. First Italian astronaut. First Swiss astronaut. Manned seven crew. Deployed Eureca-1; failed to deploy Italian tether probe TSS-1. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • ASI Italian agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Agenzia Spaziale Italiano (Italian space agency), Italy. More...

Associated Programs
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

  • NASA Astronaut Biographies, Johnson Space Center, NASA, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

Malerba Chronology

1992 July 31 - . 13:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-46.
  • STS-46 - . Call Sign: Atlantis. Crew: Allen, Andy; Chang-Diaz; Hoffman; Ivins; Malerba; Nicollier; Shriver. Payload: Atlantis F12 / Eureca 1 / TSS 1. Mass: 12,965 kg (28,582 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Allen, Andy; Chang-Diaz; Hoffman; Ivins; Malerba; Nicollier; Shriver. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-46. Spacecraft: Atlantis. Duration: 7.97 days. Decay Date: 1992-08-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 22064 . COSPAR: 1992-049A. Apogee: 437 km (271 mi). Perigee: 425 km (264 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 93.20 min. Manned seven crew. Deployed Eureca-1; failed to deploy Italian tether probe TSS-1. Payloads: Tethered Satellite System (TSS)-1; European Retrievable Carrier (EURECA)-1L; Evaluation of Oxygen Integration with Materials (EOlM)-lll/ Thermal Energy Management Processes (TEMP)-2A; Consortium for Materials Development In Space Complex Autonomous Payloads (CONCAP)-ll and Ill; IMAX Cargo Bay Camera (ICBC); Limited Duration Space Environment Candidate Materials Exposure (LDCE); Pituitary Growth Hormone Cell Function (PHCF); Ultravio-let Plume Instrument (UVPl).

1992 August 8 - .
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