(Artist’s bio please see below)
Mark Pestana, Colonel, USAF (ret), is a consulting research pilot and aerospace systems engineer, supporting NASA, FAA, and DOD. He is adjunct faculty in the Aviation Safety & Security Program at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering.
As a NASA research pilot at Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards AFB, CA, he flew aeronautics research and global Earth science missions. He also flew remotely piloted UAVs for airspace integration research and sensor testing. He previously served at NASA Johnson Space Center as a flight crew operations engineer in the Astronaut Office, developing crew interfaces, procedures, and payload integration for the International Space Station and the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
In the USAF, Col Pestana served as an orbit analyst in the NORAD Cheyenne Mtn. Complex, Colorado, and as a space operations officer with the DOD Space Test and Space Shuttle Programs. A rated Command Pilot, he logged 213 combat intelligence sorties. Col Pestana flew as a test operations pilot at the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB. He’s flown over 5000 hours in over 30 aircraft types.
Col Pestana earned a BS in Natural Sciences and a USAF ROTC commission from Loyola University Los Angeles, and an MS in Systems Management/Research & Development from University of Southern California. Decorations include the Air Medal (9), Distinguished Service Medal (3), Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal, and NASA Exceptional Service Medal. An award-winning aerospace artist, he’s a member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists and the American Society of Aviation Artists. Fourteen of his paintings are in the USAF Pentagon collection. He has the unique distinction of designing nine Space Shuttle mission patches for the astronauts. Col Pestana is a board member of the non-profit Arts, Science, and Technology Corporation, providing volunteer support and education outreach services for K-12 STEAM programs (STEM + Art). He is an AIAA Senior Member. Hobbies include backpacking, photography, and astronomy.