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Meet NASA's Future Explorer - Jose Hernandez
10.14.04
What's it like to wake up one morning and realize that you've been invited to explore the Universe? The members of the 2004 Astronaut Candidate Class have had several months to contemplate that question. Join us in this series of video interviews with eight members of the class and share in their excitement as they become part of NASA's vision for space exploration.

The 2004 Astronaut Candidate Class

Image above: The 11-member 2004 class of astronauts and three Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronauts. Pictured are (first row, left to right), Bobby Satcher, Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, Chris Cassidy, Ricky Arnold, Randy Bresnik and Tom Marshburn; (second row) Akihiko Hoshide, Shannon Walker, Joe Acaba, Jim Dutton , Shane Kimbrough, Satoshi Furukawa, Jose Hernandez and Naoko Yamazaki.


Jose Hernandez - Mission Specialist

Jose M. Hernandez after a parachute landing in water
Jose was an engineer at Johnson Space Center in Houston, supporting Space Shuttle and International Space Station missions.

Image to right: Jose Hernandez simulates procedures to follow after a parachute landing in water and inclement weather during water survival training at Pensacola Naval Air Station. Credit: NASA

One of four children in a migrant farming family from Mexico, Jose -- who didn't learn English until he was 12 years old -- spent much of his childhood traveling with his family from Mexico, picking fruits and vegetables at farms along the route.

"I was hoeing a row of sugar beets in a field near Stockton, Calif., and I heard on my transistor radio that Franklin Chang-Diaz had been selected for the Astronaut Corps," says Jose, who was a senior in high school at the time. 'That was the moment I said, 'I want to fly in space.' And that's something I've been striving for each day since then."

An Interview with Astronaut Candidate Jose Hernandez:

Jose shares how his family reacted to the announcement that he was selected as a member of the 2004 Astronaut Candidate Class.
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Jose's teachers played a significant role in his life. They were his role models, and they provided guidance as he made the choice to pursue engineering as a career. Listen as he describes his early years in school.
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Jose was asked to talk about his children and the discovery process of learning. In this part of the interview he discusses how by nature we are all explorers.
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Entering college was a big test for Jose as he prepared for a career in engineering. He kept his goal in sight and never gave up, even when he was discouraged.
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One of Jose's teachers in elementary school took the initiative to talk with his parents about his education. He talks about how that teacher made a difference in his life.
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Christopher J. Cassidy (left), Jose M. Hernandez and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Naoko Yamazaki in the wilderness of Maine
"I think that I would like to characterize that I have always been a student. We are all students of life, so I am certainly looking forward to this chapter."
-- Jose Hernandez


Image to right: NASA astronaut candidates Chris Cassidy (left), Jose Hernandez and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Naoko Yamazaki work together as they put their navigation skills to work in the wilderness of Maine during land survival training. Credit: NASA

Hispanic Astronauts
This site was created to focus on the Hispanic men and women who have participated in the NASA Career Astronauts program and are members of the NASA astronaut corps.
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Full Interview
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