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Former Astronaut to Speak at Augustana


A former astronaut who likes to promote science education will visit Augustana College next week. Doctor Jose Hernandez says his lecture "Reaching for the Stars" is about "dreaming big" and not giving up.

The son of migrant farm workers, at the age of ten Hernandez told his father he wanted to become an astronaut while watching one of the Apollo missions on television.

"He had the wisdom to say I think you can do it. He not only did that, empowered me, he also gave me a recipe with five simple ingredients, and he says this is what you've got do to."

And the recipe is: define your goal, realize how far you are from making it, draw a map on how to get there, get an education, and work hard. 

While earning degrees, including a Ph.D in electrical enginering, and working at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, he applied to join the space program. 

"A lot of times the human tendency is to give up after we fail one, two, or three times. And I tell them the story that I failed 11 times. It wasn't until the 12th time that I finally got selected."

NASA selected him for astronaut training in 2004, and in 2009 he joined the 128th shuttle mission, and flew to the International Space Station. 

Since then he's done consulting work, including helping Mexico launch satellites, and write books - "Reaching for the Stars," and a bilingual book for children "The Boy Who Touched the Stars."

He'll speak on Tuesday November 5th at 7 pm, in Augustana College's Olin Auditorium.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.