Jose Hernandez was born in French Camp, California. A small town near Stockton. His family came to the US from La Piedad, Michoacan. As a child, he lived half of the year in Mexico and the other half in The US. When in the US, he worked alongside his family throughout the different fields in California, following the Cosecha.
Because his family moved with the crops, he attended different schools and did learn English until he was 12.
The Beginning of a Dream
His life changed when he watched the Apollo 17 mission in 1972 – The final moon landing mission of NASA’s Apollo Program. That event created a spark inside of him to go into space – it woke something up inside of him that turned into a DREAM.
Cómo Lo Hizo?
Jose then se “puso las pilas” and graduated from Franklin High School in Stockton, earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of the Pacific in 1984; and went on to get an M.S in electrical engineering and computer engineering at UCSB.
In a recent lecture, he described that night he saw Apollo 17 and how he told his dad he wanted to be an astronaut. His father sat him down and handed him a set of consejos that would guide his life.
The First: The recognition of how far you are from your goal. In recognizing you want to do something then seeing what the distance is between where you are and that goal.
The Second: Development of “el camino” – In this Jose, recognized that education was key and in that came the development of a strong work ethic “Always give more than what people expect out of you.” Hernandez recalled his father telling him.
Valores Para Sobrevivir
He credits the mix of his father’s strong words and NASA’s training to not only help him achieve his life dream but to deal with our “Nueva Normal”. He gave very sage advice to the student in dealing with isolation during these trying times.
Six very simple things:
- Having a Positive Attitude
- Creating a Schedule
- Bonding with Family
- Setting Goals
- Practicing Self Care Management
Jose left NASA in 2011, started his own company Tierra Luna Engineering where he is focused on getting his community involved in the Aero Space. He also bought his own land in Stockton. Jose currently owns and works at his Stockton winery – Tierra Luna – alongside his father.
Most Interesting: This won’t be the last we hear of Jose, Netflix is working on a biopic on his journey from Stockton to SpaceQ