The inspiring true story of NASA astronaut José Hernández has made its way to Hollywood.
A biographical film (or biopic) about José Hernández’s journey of going from migrant farm worker to STS-128 mission specialist on space shuttle Discovery is now streaming on Amazon Prime. Directed and co-written by critically acclaimed Mexican filmmaker Alejandra Márquez Abella and starring Michael Peña, “A Million Miles Away” follows Hernández as he went from working the fields with his family to pursuing his dream of flying into space.
“T-minus 1 day for the movie, based on my life, #AMillionMilesAway to be released on Prime Video to coincide with #HispanicHeritageMonth! Hope you see & review it!” Hernández wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter) on the eve of the film’s Sept. 15 release.
Hernández, born in California, is of Mexican heritage and spent his childhood picking fruit with his family, all of whom are migrant farmworkers. When Apollo 17 launched in 1972, Hernández was watching on television. “That is when my dream to become an astronaut was born because I would hear him, watch him, then go outside and look at the full moon. I would go back inside and listen to Gene Cernan and for that reason I told myself that would be me, I want to become an astronaut,” Hernandez told The Californian in 2016.
After learning to speak English when he was 12 years old, Hernández went on to study electrical and computer engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He then went on to work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he began applying to become a NASA astronaut.
Hernández was turned down 11 times before his application was finally accepted at age 41 to join NASA’s 19th astronaut class.
“A Million Miles Away” tells the true story of Hernández’s journey along with help from NASA, who provided “technical expertise, footage and imagery, and secured clearances for set designs, props, and costumes,” according to an agency statement. “[F]ilms like this provide meaningful platforms to help tell stories like Hernandez’s, while also fostering awareness of NASA’s history and inspiring a new generation — the Artemis Generation,” said Brian Odom, chief historian at NASA Headquarters.
“I hope my story inspires many people to follow their dreams,” Hernández’ wrote on X.
“A Million Miles Away” is currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.