José Hernández

José Hernández is owner of Tierra Luna Engineering, an aerospace consulting firm. Previously, he spent ten years working at NASA, where in 2006 he became one of a dozen latino NASA astronauts in United States history. Hernández supported operations for the Kennedy Space Center Operations Shuttle Branch and was a member of the crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-128. During his time on the mission, Hernández served as the flight engineer and one of two operators for the principal robotic arm. Prior to NASA, Hernández led a long engineering career at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he worked from 1980 to 2004. During this time, Hernández contributed numerous engineering developments, including a new technology to aid in the early detection of breast cancer. Today Hernández is also actively involved with the José Hernández Reaching for the Stars! Foundation, which prepares students to pursue STEM careers and provides college scholarships. Hernández is also the author of Reaching for the Stars: The Inspiring Story of a Migrant Farm Worker Turned Astronaut and an animated children’s book, The Boy Who Touched the Stars.

Hernández was born in French Camp, CA and considers Stockton his home. His parents were migrant farm workers and Hernández spent much of his childhood as a field worker. His family moved frequently while he was growing up. As a result, Hernández attended various schools and entered the school system without learning to speak English until the age of 12.

Hernández was in the first generation of his family to graduate from college, earning his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of the Pacific. He went on to earn a master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UC Santa Barbara.