How an immigrant farmworker beat the odds to become a NASA astronaut

Jose Hernandez talks about how his mission to outer space began with picking produce on a farm.
8:31 | 02/18/21

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Transcript for How an immigrant farmworker beat the odds to become a NASA astronaut
The. I started off. Working on that land and land that wasn't mine I'd worked for other farmers. Picking just about any. If any. Fruit and vegetable liberals here in the valley. You name it they've brought here we picked it. Including graves Jose Hernandez and he didn't pioneered childhood working alongside. Needs child one field. Job security and need to keep. Cucumber rules of low so you're always. It. You're looking through your book and and you got a goal and the it is illegal. She. And turn in for payment. And it's hard work. But you know by about 11 o'clock in the morning you're done. He did very well you can make 5060 books a this beef his plant now and it represents to me represents life. From Mexico California spending months at a time doing hard labor. It's the only life we knew it to me. It was normal. Health life that's why I think my work ethic came from. Still learning English Jose excel in math and science and by ten years old he knew. That he wanted to be an astronaut after watching the last Apollo mission on TP. His 1970 tip and he told his dad and that history. I think what he saw was that the termination. In your report. That he did two things that changed of course. In my life I think first thing is he validated victory he empowered we believe he said. Because that person and fitness I think you can do. This powerful parent to ten Euro when he empowered. When the. We're working very hard for those collected in hidden mold like. Children to be somebody and then looked nectar they every what is being proficient enough. All four of them. Prelude really really proud of they'll hold all of them. The youngest of four kids he graduated high school in 1980 then earning a degree in electrical engineering from the university Pacific. Ten years later completing his master's degree. He began working at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he was instrumental in the invention of the mobile mammogram she. During his time there he began applying to NASA a process that would take him twelve years he was rejected. A lesson time. And so I reached this final 100 not once not placement to read it. And noted that far three to me Heinz I was in the final 100 so you could almost taste it. In a sea of more than 121000 candidates he was finally selected in 2004. So don't be so quick to give up but your dreams and he. Failed wants replies sure failure doesn't fielded Serb rejection doesn't feel but if you prepare yourself to come back stronger. And eventually you get. Two years later he got his wings and in 2009 he was the flight engineer on the EST yes. Discovery's flying a fourteen day mission to the International Space Station. He became the first first generation Mexican American astronaut and he also sent the first tweet from space in Spanish. I tweet it a far all the countries especially the US Mexico. And now the Latin American countries good luck in the upcoming. Qualifying rounds for the World Cup and see you at the World Cup. At the end of this fourteen day mission whether change their flight path. Forcing them to landing California. Instead of Florida. On the landing site of Edwards air force it's always call it awaiting justice. Why because it's about eighty most worries pick strawberries in the Ontario chino area. Main gear touchdown. Where their people on your way. That doubted you. Because of your background. If the answer the short answer is yes. You perceived. It wasn't very blatant. But you perceived it but I also role. I think it also had to do a lot with having an impostor syndrome sometimes. You can't help you say. I really belong here. A husband and father of five Jose left NASA in 2011 moving back to Stockton running his consulting business investing his time in the community. And buying. His own. Land. Tending to the fines near where his entire family worked for years. We were out here because. It was a matters. Are now we are here because we shall. Modeling the first hint here of the no wind in March. As a double meaning Tierra doing my wife thought of the name for a restaurant because it meant earth moon. Real but it also has a double meaning because here in Spanish that only means earth else. And while his ninth remains on this planet for now. He's again inspired by the latest mission to Mars. If I Mena news arsonists and realize that it felt differently in the right one me me. When you watch them like this in the bullying. I miss it allot tightness of the loud and you know I I understand you know what's even NASA as an astronaut you never gonna go back and you never know army deaths basics. Yeah version this. You origin all of these companies have their own vehicles and may want to experience. Astronauts. The some of the missions whether there sport tourism. Other campers right. So. That the foam hearing what I'm glad I'm art pretty good shape so. Solved problem hoping he'll one bombings sales date. Put me coach. Now his inspiring life story is being made in Suh a movie and Netflix plans on shooting. Early summer or spring Tai pan. Love that Qaeda and can't. When you weren't talking to him meeting him hanging out at an in person what did you feel stood out to you. The most when you heard his story from him. You know Diana it's a story of his second grade teacher honestly. She changed the course of his life dramatically because when he was in second grade his parents sold and you know go get your three months of homework. We're hitting the road for work again and his second grade teacher came to their home. And sad that education needs to be a priority need to consider the future for your children and right then and there. Everything changed and they stayed in Stockton. And the look at what happened in of course his kids are going on to be successes as wild and has one child. I Getty's Ph.D. right now so it's just an incredibly inspiring story all around and for all generations. It really is and it was adjusting to hear him say. That he suffered from impostor syndrome while his questioning two I really belong here. You know what do you what do you take away from that when you think about all that doubt that he had and yet what he ended up accomplishing. You know Dan accept me she and my producer it lists that as well. We were both struck by the fact that he felt this imposter syndrome despite the fact that he had all of these degrees and he had all these successes and has life. He's still sometimes questioned because. He had really seen anybody else do it before. Do I really belonged here and I think that that something that we see a lot of times stand in these trailblazers. People that are doing something for the very first time. And obviously the answer is that yes you absolutely belong here and we Arab better country for it well he made that clear can't where we're at thanks to that story has great.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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