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Meet: Christopher Barreras

Payloads Engineer

photo of chris barreras

My Journals

What I do:

My career has been involved with space or aircraft since I graduated from college in 1982. I have done some work with the building of telecommunication products, but mainly I have worked on rockets, military planes and experiments for the Space Shuttle.

My title is Payloads Engineer, and at the moment I am working on rodent hardware. I work with really neat people and we make sure that when the rodents fly on Neurolab in April that they will get plenty of water, food, air, and they can go to the bathroom.

My Career Journey

I decided on this career when I was a boy. I have always enjoyed watching birds fly and rockets being launched. I prepared for this by working hard in high school and reading a lot and then attending college.

When I was in 7th grade my teacher told me that I had a 3rd grade reading level. So she told me that if you really want to reach the stars and be part of the future space program, start reading a lot more. So I have been reading every free minute I have since then.

Likes/Dislikes about career

Positive things about my career are meeting the astronuats, watching the Space Shuttle launch at Florida, being involved with the Space Station program, working with really neat people, solving the problems we face everyday, and being forever the student.

Negative things: This business goes up and down, and depending on the money available, one year we can have work and the next year we could be out of a job.


Go to the library and read about science and nature. If you do not have one, then start a science club. The library is a cool place. Save your money and buy a telescope or perhaps a microscope. Do not be afraid to ask questions. I just finished coaching a youth soccer team, and I encourage my team to ask questions on anything. When I was younger I was afraid to ask questions because I was afraid of looking stupid and the other kids laughing at me. Don't be afraid.

Also, go the extra mile-- what I mean is, establish good work ethics. For example, if your teacher tells you to read one chapter of history, then read two. If your coach tells you to do 20 pushups, then do 25. Always try a little more.

Preparation for career

As a child, what did I do to help prepare? I built models, read science fiction, learned sharing which helps in teamwork.

I was influenced first by my father and mother, and then by my Uncle Fred, my Uncle John, and Coach Pat Riley of the Miami Heat.

Personal Information

I am 39 years old, born in San Jose, California. I am married with two stepchildren who are out of high school now, and we live in Morgan Hill, CA. I attended the USAF Academy for two years. I graduated from San Jose State in 1982.

I have two dogs, two birds and an occasional skunk once in awhile. I take the Caltrain or bus back and forth to NASA Ames. I work for Lockheed Martin and in turn for NASA Ames.

My Hobbies are I like to woodwork, read Tom Clancy novels, look at antiques with my wife, and I really love to play soccer, the best sport in the world. I like to listen to some country music and easy saxaphone or piano music.

My future goals

I just finished coaching soccer for awhile and I probably will get back into it. I am looking at going back to school for my master's degree in engineering.

I want to travel to Mexico and see where my grandparents originated, and also I really want to take my family to Europe so we can see how the rest of the world lives.

Learn more from my NeurOn Chats
February 4, l998
May 19, l998


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