Ten-year-old Jose M. Hernandez watched the Apollo 17 moonwalks on his family s black and white television in 1972 and knew what he wanted to be when he grew up: an astronaut. Later that night he told his father and was surprised when his dad said, You can do this, m’ijo!
Mr. Hernandez told his son that if he really wanted to become an astronaut, he would need to follow a simple, five-ingredient recipe to succeed: 1) decide what you want, 2) recognize how far you are from your goal, 3) draw a road map to get there, 4) prepare yourself with a good education, and 5) develop a good work ethic, always giving more than required.
In the years to come, Jose would follow this recipe as he obtained undergraduate and master s degrees in electrical engineering. Adding his own ingredient, perseverance, he applied to NASA s astronaut program eleven times and was rejected each time! Finally, in 2004, he was selected to be part of the 19th class of US Astronauts. He achieved his dream in 2009 when he served as the flight engineer on the Space Shuttle Discovery on the STS-128 fourteen-day mission to the International Space Station.
In From Farmworker to Astronaut, Jose M. Hernandez recollects his parallel journeys, juxtaposing memories of his mission to the space station and childhood aspirations to reach the stars. His story is sure to motivate kids to set goals and reach for their own dreams.