José Hernández: An Astronaut With a Recipe for Success
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José Hernández: An Astronaut With a Recipe for Success
Four years ago, I had the opportunity to meet astronaut José Hernández. Although his story of personal achievement is absolutely fascinating, there’s a very interesting fact about his life that few people know.  José led a “double life,” so to speak.  By day, he spent one hundred percent of his time training for space, and in the afternoons he would go to his wife Adela’s Mexican restaurant to carry out a bit of an odd task: ‘‘I was a great dishwasher. When I would come back from practicing in the shuttle simulator, from flying jets, I would spend my time helping out in the kitchen,” José said during our most recent phone conversation.

The story of this family project also has very special meaning for this Hispanic astronaut. “The restaurant was my wife’s dream. She’s a great human being who gave me her support to become an astronaut and, when I realized that dream, I felt the need to support her.” Reaching the stars wasn’t at all easy for José. He comes from a humble family from Michoacán, Mexico that moved from place to place during harvest seasons in California to pick tomatoes and other vegetables. José was 12 years old when he learned to speak English. He applied for the NASA astronaut program 11 times, until he was admitted.

After completing his successful 14-day mission in space and retiring, he remembers the food he most longed for during his expedition. “What I missed in space was the ‘mole poblano,’ the fish tacos and the Michoacán-style ‘carnitas.’” He also confirmed that the food on the spacecraft wasn’t very appetizing since it is dehydrated food that must be diluted in water. At least he could have burritos for breakfast, as we can see in the photo.

His experience served as inspiration for the book “The Harvester of Stars.” With his testimony, he wants to motivate young Hispanics to get ahead. “In the book, I give the recipe for success that my father taught me: identify your goal, gauge how far away it is, create a map to help you get there, study and develop a work ethic and, of course, strive to achieve it.’’  With this philosophy of life, José has been able to reach the stars; and he’s up for other challenges, like becoming a United States congressman.

Posted in Celebrity Spotlight, Discoveries, What's Rico

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