MERCED, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The story of a Central Valley farmworker turned NASA astronaut has now been turned into a movie.
Monday, the University of California in Merced held a special film screening for the movie called “A Million Miles Away”.
Jose Hernandez always knew one day he would be an astronaut, but he never thought they would make a movie about him.
“It’s okay to dream big, se vale soñar en grande, as long as you are willing to work hard for it,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez is one of four children in a migrant Mexican family and says he was rejected by NASA 11 times before finally being selected in 2004.
“You never grow up thinking oh I’m gonna grow up and I’m gonna have a movie about my life but you grow up though saying I want to be an astronaut because I was 10 years old when I saw the very last Apollo mission and I saw astronaut Jean Surnen walk on the surface of the moon,” he added.
Hernandez flew to the International Space Station in 2009 and was one of the first Hispanic astronauts in U.S. history.
“Here’s a Hispanic American of extraordinary achievement to someone whose family quite literally picked the food that others ate in our country and to rise from that ground to space can’t be understated,” said Juan Sánchez Muñoz, Chancellor University of California, Merced.
Hernandez alongside his youngest son, hosted the special screening of the movie.
The film can be watched on Amazon but Hernandez says achieving his dream was literally out of this world.
“You see the window to the universe and to think you one less than 600 individuals who had the privilege of seeing the world through the outside, I mean, it still gives me goosebumps thinking about it,” added Hernandez.
He says he hopes his story will empower the next generation to never give up.
“I’m hoping that this is what the message the movie actually portrays, and people walk away empowered believing that hey, the sky is not the limit anymore the stars are because I’m living proof of that,” said Hernandez.