Mexican Engineer & Former NASA Astronaut
José Hernandez, who grew up as a migrant farmworker in California, was selected by NASA as a member of their 19th class of astronauts in 2004. In 2009, José served as the flight engineer on mission STS-128 aboard Space Shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station. In addition to his flight engineer duties, José was…
José Hernandez, who grew up as a migrant farmworker in California, was selected by NASA as a member of their 19th class of astronauts in 2004.
In 2009, José served as the flight engineer on mission STS-128 aboard Space Shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station. In addition to his flight engineer duties, José was one of two principal robotic arm operators and became the first person to tweet in Spanish from space. José is currently an engineering consultant and politician who has plans to run for office in the near future.
After his 2009 space mission, José was assigned to work at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. where he served as a Legislative Analyst, developing federal space policy, planning NASA’s annual budget package, and acting as liaison with key Congressional members. He also worked on a strategy to promoted the President’s new vision on space exploration.
Currently, José works as a consultant for Tierra Luna Engineering, which he founded in 2012. He uses his expertise in engineering, business development, and strategic operations to help clients develop integrated approaches to complex problems and achieve optimum growth. He focuses his efforts on companies involved in such areas as aerospace technology and renewable energy.
José is a former candidate for U.S. Congress, with plans to run for office again soon. He is the author of several books, including his autobiography “Reaching for the Stars” and the children’s version “The Boy Who Touched the Stars.”
José has been the recipient of numerous awards including two NASA Service Awards (2002, 2003), the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory “Outstanding Engineer Award” (2001), Upward Bound National TRIO Achiever Award (2001), U.S. Department of Energy “Outstanding Performance Commendation” (2000), Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists “Medalla de Oro” recipient for professional and community contributions (1999), and Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award for “Outstanding Technical Contribution” (1995). José has also been awarded seven honorary doctorate degrees including from his alma mater, University of the Pacific.
Prior to becoming an astronaut, José worked at NASA as the Branch Chief of the Materials and Processes Branch at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. There he oversaw the branch’s activities in the areas of materials and processes, fracture control, nondestructive evaluation, failure analysis, and Nano materials research. His branch was also instrumental in participating in the investigation to help find the root cause of the Space Shuttle Columbia accident and reporting those results to the President’s Columbia Accident Investigation Board.
Before this, José spent over 15 years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he worked on the development of a space deployed X-Ray laser as part of the Strategic Defense Initiative. He then went on to co-develop the first full-field digital mammography system for the earlier detection of breast cancer thus opening a new area of research called computer-aided diagnosis and was recognized by both the U.S. Department of Energy for this important contribution.
José was also the Deputy Program Manager of the Highly Enriched Uranium Implementation program where his team was in charge of implementing a signed bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Russian Federation for the U.S. purchase of uranium materials from the dismantled Russian nuclear weapons. José was invited to the Department of Energy Headquarters in Washington D.C. to serve as the Laboratory’s Program Manager in the Office of International Material Protection and Cooperation. There, José assisted in planning, directing, and implementing U.S. cooperation with the Russian Federation in the Nuclear Materials, Protection, Control and Accounting Program. José developed and implemented policies, strategies, and plans to enhance U.S. national security and reduce threat of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
An Evening With José Hernandez
Jose Hernandez, recipient 2016 National Hispanic Hero Award
El niño que tocó las estrellas. - José Hernández Moreno. - TEDxParqueLaLoma
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