[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
The space shuttle Discovery, mission STS-128, is in orbit right now. With some fascinating people on board. Pilot Kevin Ford became interested in flying when he was a kid and read the book Carrying the Fire, by Michael Collins, command module pilot on Apollo 11. When he was old enough to take flying lessons, Ford paid for them with money he earned bagging groceries.
Mission Specialist Jose Hernandez was born in California, into a family of migrant farm workers. He spent his childhood shuttling between Mexico and California, working in the fields and speaking little English. But during the school year, his parents, who possessed only third-grade educations, had him and his siblings attend school full time and help with the work only on weekends. His second-grade teacher in California convinced his parents to set down roots for the sake of the children’s educations. In high school, Hernandez was inspired by astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz, and set his course on becoming an astronaut himself.
The whole crew has great life stories—and degrees in engineering or science. Check them out at www.snipurl.com/sts128