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  • Who is José Hernández? All about the astronaut ahead of Amazon’s A Million Miles Away Release
A still from the upcoming film (image via Amazon Prime Studios)

Who is José Hernández? All about the astronaut ahead of Amazon’s A Million Miles Away Release

A Million Miles Away is set to premiere on September 15, 2023, on Amazon Prime Video. This beautiful film, based on a true story, follows the incredible journey of astronaut José Hernández.

Michael Peña (of American Hustle and Ant-Man fame) will portray the inspiring astronaut. The film is based on José’s autobiography Reaching for the Stars: The Inspiring Story of a Migrant Farmworker Turned Astronaut.


The official synopsis of the film on Amazon reads:

"Inspired by the real-life story of NASA flight engineer José Hernández, A Million Miles Away follows him and his devoted family of proud migrant farm workers on a decades-long journey, from a rural village in Michoacán, Mexico, to the fields of the San Joaquin Valley, to more than 200 miles above the Earth in the International Space Station."

It further says,

"With the unwavering support of his hard-working parents, relatives and teachers, José’s unrelenting drive & determination culminates in the opportunity to achieve his seemingly impossible goal."


José Hernández: The migrant worker who made it as an astronaut

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Many kids dream about going to space but seldom make it so. However, José Hernández was more than determined to fulfill his dreams.

Born on August 7, 1962, Hernández had a tough childhood. Per his autobiography, he spent half a year at La Piedad and the other half in the United States as a child. Hernández labored in California’s fields as a boy, harvesting crops and traveling with his family and other farmworkers from town to town.


He attended numerous schools, but it wasn’t until he was 12 that he started to learn English. He recalls his earliest space-related memory was setting the television so he could watch the Apollo 17 flight in 1972. José Hernández graduated from Franklin High School in Stockton with the help of the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program.

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Hernández began working at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas 2001. He was chosen for astronaut training by NASA in May 2004 after three years and eleven rejections. He finished his Astronaut Candidate Training in February 2006.

He worked on various technical jobs before being chosen as a mission specialist for the STS-128 mission on July 15, 2008, which launched on August 28, 2009. Hernández became the first person to tweet using Spanish while in orbit.

José Hernández went on to contest a political election after his journey in space. In 2011, Hernández declared at Pacific Union College that he was considering running for the U.S. House of Representatives at President Obama’s suggestion. He made his candidacy official in October 2011 by tweeting a link to his campaign website. Unfortunately, he lost his contest election in 2012. He prepared for a rerun in 2022 but did not go forward with it.

Do not miss out on A Million Miles Away, which is set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video on September 15, 2023.


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