Immigrant Farm Worker Who Became Astronaut To Share Life Story In New Movie

immigrant astronaut nasa story
ABC News

In light of last week’s inspiring story about NASA engineer Diana Trujillo, there’s another immigrant story connected to NASA that’s getting a pretty big signal boost.

Jose Hernandez was highlighted in a recent ABC News story last week, titled, “How an immigrant farmworker beat the odds to become a NASA astronaut.” And by next, should all go to plan, Hernandez’s story will be available in the form of a Netflix movie.

According to the University of the Pacific’s website, “Hernandez was rejected 11 times by NASA before being accepted to the astronaut program.”

Hernandez, an immigrant with an aptitude for math and science who graduated from that university, eventually emerged from the highly-competitive process, and “spent 14 days in space in 2009 as a flight engineer aboard Space Shuttle Mission STS-128.”

As ABC7 reported back in January, the Hernandez family came to the U.S. as migrant farm workers, and settled in Stockton. The article noted, “Jose couldn’t speak English until he was 12 years old, but STEM subjects spoke to him.”

“I gravitated towards math because 1 + 3 is 4 in any language,” Hernandez said.

Jose wanted to become an astronaut by age 10, and when he told his father, his father laid out a five-part recipe for success. First, set a goal, then recognize how far you are from that goal. Next, draw a road map to where you want to go, get an education, and finally, do hard work.

His own advice to those who want to succeed is very similar. He notes, “Hard work and perseverance and not being afraid to dream big” are the ingredients to success.

When asked by the University of the Pacific for its story what kind of movie he thought it would be, he noted, “It’s going to have space, for sure. Space is very sexy. But it’s more of a movie of not giving up, of believing in yourself. It will deal with serious issues, such as imposter syndrome and the self-doubt that comes from that. But it will be a feel-good story where the viewer can have empathy for the character and will be rooting for him.”

“There will be some NASA in there, but it will be toward the end of the movie,” he added. “The focus is going to be on how the character got there.”


Written by Phil West