A former migrant worker and astronaut shared how he turned his “dream into reality” and made history as one of two Hispanic astronauts to go to space.
Jose Hernandez, 61, explained to the Christian Post that he had grown up dreaming of becoming an astronaut when he was older. Hernandez attributed the success of reaching his dream career to all of the people who helped him in life, including his parents and his wife.
“My journey isn’t about one individual’s quest to turn a dream into reality,” Hernandez explained. “It’s about my teacher who went to my house to convince my parents to stay in one place; it’s about my wife, who taught me perseverance and propped me up. It’s about my father, who only had a third-grade education but had the wisdom to give me a powerful, five-ingredient recipe when I told him I wanted to be an astronaut.”
Hernandez said the five tips his father gave him were to; “find your purpose in life; recognize how far you are; draw a roadmap; if you don’t know how, learn, and when you think you’ve made it, you probably have to work harder.”
Former NASA astronaut José Hernández speaks to @MelissaABCNews about his journey from migrant worker to NASA astronaut in a story now featured in #AMillionMilesAway. @Astro_Jose pic.twitter.com/oauVZjHqMe
— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) September 23, 2023
Hernandez made history as one of two Hispanic astronauts to be on the Space Shuttle Discovery in 2009 after being accepted into NASA’s training program at the age of 42 in 2004.
“At 10 years old, in 1972, I remember watching our rabbit-ear TV, and I saw astronaut Gene Cernan walk on the surface of the moon while Walter Cronkite narrated the moonwalk,” Hernandez told the outlet. “And I told myself, ‘I want to be an astronaut.’ I felt a clear calling from God.”
A 2012 film, “A Million Miles Away” which tells Hernandez’s story, premiered on Amazon Prime on Sept. 15. Since it’s debut on Amazon Prime, it has hit the number one spot. The film is based on his memoir, “Reaching for the Stars: The Inspiring Story of a Migrant Farmworker Turned Astronaut.”
The film shares details about Hernandez’s childhood years growing up in a migrant farm family and even details Hernandez being rejected by NASA 11 times before he was able to reach his goal.
“I didn’t take it wrong that NASA didn’t select me, because there were over 12,000 that applied to 10 to 15 slots,” Hernandez told the outlet. “So it’s very competitive. I understood that. So, every time, I said, ‘I’ve just got to make myself more competitive so that NASA can’t say no.’ I found out that most astronauts not only met the minimum requirements, which I did, but also were pilots or scuba-dived, were elite athletes or knew a third language.”
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