Franco Malerba


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.


Graduated from the Maturita classica (Lyceum) in 1965. Received his university degree as an Electronical Engineer from the University of Genova, Italy, specializing in the telecommunications field (laurea cum laude). Received his Doctorate 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 (ASI); Association of Space Explorers.


Malerba was a Research 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. Following these activities, he served as a Lecturer of Cybernetics and Information Theory at the Physics Faculty, University of Genova, as well as Summer Research Assistant at the Nato Saclant Research Center (La Spezia, Italy) working on computer-aided signal detection methodologies for sonar data systems and as Research 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).

In 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).


Malerba held 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).



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