Meet a NASA Engineer

Heriberto (Heri) Soto joined Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in 1990 working as a Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) System Engineer, and since Heri has held different technical positions at the Center like working as a Materials Engineer (Failure Analyst) for the KSC NASA Materials Science Laboratory, working for the International Space Station and Payloads Directorate as a Fluids Engineer and also as a Materials and Processes Engineer, returning back to SSME System specialist during the end of the Space Shuttle Program.  Heri served as the Technical Assistant to the Fluids & Propulsion Division Chief of the Engineering and Technology Directorate and currently is a Senior Propulsion Engineer working with the Ground Systems Development & Operations Program leading the Cryogenics and Main propulsion Sub-systems Applications Software Development Lead and also working for the Commercial Crew Program reviewing and consulting for the SpaceX launch vehicle (Falcon 9) and spacecraft (Dragon Capsule) propulsion systems.

Heri obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, and later earned a Master of Science Degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Florida International University in 2006.  In addition, he had the privilege of being selected by KSC to participate and be a graduate from the International Space University (ISU) Summer Session Program held at Cleveland, OH in 1998 between ISU, Cleveland State University and Glenn Research Center.

He is very proud of being a product of the public education system in Puerto Rico.  He believes in giving back and takes every opportunity to tell the story of his very humble beginnings and being raised by a single mother.  As a little kid he had to pick up aluminum cans with his brother and carry them in a burlap sack on his shoulder all over his hometown back in Arroyo, Puerto Rico in order to help his mother feed him and his brother.  Faced by adversity Heri looked up to his 4th grade teacher and mentor that once told him to “never let anyone tell him “NO” and that if he wanted so, he could go far beyond any expectation”.  He is an example of working hard, perseverance and concentrating in his Education as his way out of a situation that could have paralyzed anyone without ambition, without role models and without the encouragement and support of dedicated teachers.

Dr. Lester Morales
Educator Professional Development Specialist
Kennedy Space Center