>> Mario: Hello. Good afternoon everyone. My name is Mario [inaudible]. I'm originally
from Mexico and I work in Platforms here as a software engineer. This is part of my 20
percent and today we have a great speaker.
Just to give you a little bit of background, a couple of Googlers got together about a
year ago and we said, "Why can't we do different at Google to spread role models?" And it was
very, very easy we say, "Why don't we invite them to speak at Google and we put them on
And we created a channel and we have tons of visitors, but today we are really, really
honored just not to have a role model, but one of the greatest role models in the Hispanic
And today we hope you enjoy this talk. You still can go go/nasatalkquestion to ask questions
on Dory. We have about 25 offices most of North America, Mexico City, São Paulo, Belo
Horizonte, and-and Buenos Aires that are also listening to this talk remotely. So feel free
to ask questions.
We also have a couple of live questions at the end. The time is very short at the end
so feel free to-to go to Dory if you can.
And today we have an-an honor to introduce him, but in order to do so I'm going to hand
off the mic to two great Googlers, one of them is Tiffany Montague. She runs all of
our space related programs. She's going to talk a little bit about that and then Gonzalo
Begazo is one of the founders of SEN. He's going to introduce the speaker today.
So I hope you really enjoy this talk.
>>Tiffany Montague: Thank you Mario.
My name's Tiffany Montague. I manage our Space Initiative. Some of you might know me by my
moment title which is the Commander of the Universe.
I-I used my incredible space powers today to summon actually not one but two astronauts.
We have two astronauts here, Yvonne Cagle.
I-I've always known that I wanted to be involved in the space business. In fact prior to Google
I was in the space field. I was flying in a high altitude airplane as a flight test
engineer at Johnson Space Center.
I even applied for astronaut training twice and I didn't make it and I was heartbroken
for about a day until I realized that there were two ways into the space community: one,
NASA, the government and two, commercial space. And that's partly why Google is involved in-in
the Space Initiatives.
I've spent the fast, past several years cultivating some space projects that you are probably
familiar with: one, our relationship with NASA, two, the Google Lunar X PRIZE.
In the past 12 months alone we have launched some amazing products with NASA: Google Moon;
And the Google Lunar X PRIZE is well on its way to success. I think it'll be won before
2015 and we have 22 teams, 22 global teams from around the world who are competing in
a race to the moon.
So why is Google involved in these space projects? Well, we are all technologists, all scientists,
all engineers, and most of us are space enthusiasts, right? Yeah.
We are also really strong supporters of openness: open source, open Internet. Why not open access
to space, right?
In the case of Google Lunar X PRIZE it's the largest incentive prize ever offered and the
goal is not just technical achievement and the demonstration of lunar capability, it's
investing in a future technological work force. And it's demonstrating a new space economy.
And in my short conversation with Jose earlier today I learned that he shares those goals.
But to do that we need to first remove this mental log jam that exists about the access
to space; about whether it's possible to go to space and not be a government.
We need to fundamentally change the public's perceptions about space exploration so that
they know space should be open and accessible to everyone.
And I don't know about you, but when I was a kid I was promised that in the future we
would have robots and jet packs and we'd all be vacationing on the moon. Well it's 2010
and I'm ready.
So, I hope all this happens in our lifetimes, in my lifetime specifically. Otherwise we're
gonna need a prize for cryogenics.
And with that I'll hand it off to my colleague Gonzalo.
>>Gonzalo Begazo: Thank you very much, Tiffany.
Hi everyone. My name is Gonzalo Begazo, I'm Director of Accounting and on behalf of Google
and the Hispanic Google Network I'm extremely happy to introduce you, Mr. Jose Hernanez.
Jose's an engineer and also a NASA astronaut. He was born in California a Mexican descendant
and as a child he worked alongside his family and other farm workers in the fields of California
moving from one town to another harvesting crops. He did not learn to speak English until
he was 12 years old.
It was until he was 41 that NASA finally accepted him into the Astronaut Training Program and
later assigned him to the crew of the Space Shuttle Mission STS-128.
Jose also served as a chief of the materials and processes branch of Johnson Space Center
and received recognition for his work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he co-developed
the first full field digital mammography imaging system proven to detect breast cancer at an
earlier stage than previous techniques.
He also worked in the international arena where he represented Lawrence Livermore and
the U.S. Department of Energy in-on Russian nuclear non-prof, non-proliferation issues.
He earned a BS in electrical engineering from the University of the Pacific, and MS in electrical
and computer engineering from the University of California Santa Barbara and, where he
was also awarded an honorary doctor of law degree in 2006.
Jose created the Jose Hernandez Reaching for the Stars Foundation in December 2005, a non-profit
Having been raised by parents in-in a migrant jet [inaudible] family, Jose believes that
all children despite family challenges should have the same educational opportunities he
Inspired by Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz who in the 19, in the 1980's became the first Hispanic-American
astronaut, Jose now wants children to also become inspired to learn more about math and
With that please let me introduce you Mr. Jose Hernandez.
>>Jose Hernandez: Thank you, thank you Gonzalo for that kind introduction.
And Tiffany I think Lockheed Martin just announced that they have their commercial jet packs.
They're a little expensive right now, but I think, I think, I think they're developing
it pretty good and-and Mario, thank you very much and to the whole Hispanic Googlers Network
for extending this invitation; also to my colleague Yvonne Cagle from NASA Ames. She's
the one that actually put us in contact and she sent me the original email and of course
when they said, "Google," I said, "Hey, I-I'm interesting in seeing what you guys are doing
And let me tell 'ya I spent the whole morning here and-and I wanna come work with you guys.
I mean this is, it's a, it's a neat place. You think NASA's neat, you guys, you guys,
have it all man. It-it is neat.
I think my colleague Ed Lu already beat me to it though. I think you guys already have
your-your quota of one astronaut so whenever he moves on just make sure you guys give me
a call, alright?
But this is gonna be a little bit like church, okay?
I-I have, I have, I have a treat for you guys at the very end, but first you gotta listen
to the sermon.
The treat, the treat at the very end, its gonna be, I have about an 18 minute video
that summarizes my mission from last year. It was aboard, on board STS-128 Discovery
and it was from August 28th of last year through September 11th. And we went all the way up
to the International Space Station, connected with them, and we formed a-a group of seven
of us from-from my crew and six from the station, the 13 of us were up in space simultaneously,
which was somethin' very incredible.
But-but before I do that I-I think I need to tell ya a little bit about myself so that,
so that you guys can better appreciate what-what-what you guys are to the community, be, like it
or not I think you guys are-are role models to our community.
And-and I'm sure the 80/20 that you guys have the ability here a lot of you choose to use
that 20 to go out in the community and do some good in terms of influencing our kids
to get into science, technology, engineering, and math; get into the STEM fields. And I
think that is, that is very important.
I think the-the-the, I was listening to-to the White House when they were, they had this
event for community colleges and I think it was Joe Biden said some quote that really
stuck to me and-and that is the-the-the "countries that out educate us today are gonna out compete
And it's very important that we engage our kids into the STEM fields if were gonna remain
competitive on a global basis. And so-so that's sort of the soapbox that I'm gonna get into
that you guys are gonna have to put up with for the next 15-20 minutes and then, and then
I'll give you guys the treat, alright?
As was mentioned I come from a typical migrant farm working family. I'm first generation.
I was born here in the States and-and so you would say, "Well, what's a typical migrant
farm working family?" And let me, let me paint the scenery for you. It's actually quite simple.
My parents came from Michaocan, the state of Michaocan in Mexico. If you, if you balance
Mexico on a pin that center of mass there, that's where Michaocan's at. So we're dead
center in Mexico.
And every year my Dad would-would load up the kids in the car, there was four of us,
and I was the youngest one, would load up the kids in the car, Mom as well and we would
make a two day trip through Mexico, Northern Mexico all the way up to Southern California.
We would reach Ontario near Los Angeles and we would spend about a month and a half there
picking strawberries. That's how we would start the season.
Then about month and a half later we would drive up to Salinas and then we would pick
lechuga which is the lettuce. We would work in the hoe, hoeing with respect to thinning
out sugar beets and whatever it was they were planting.
And then after that we would then two months later move up to the Stockton area; Stockton,
Tracy, Modesto. And we would hang out here the bulk of our time; start working in picking
cucumbers, tomatoes, cherries, anything that was in season we picked it.
And then after that November would roll around and now we would make what would be a two
and half day trip back to Mexico. And we would cool our heels between November and February
in Mexico and then that process would begin again and we would do that year after year.
So you can see that that is why it took me until I was 12 years old to dominate the English
language. I mean while we was being pulled out from different school districts throughout
the year and-and so there was very little stability.
And-and-and-and so I remember, I remember that-that-that one thing that my parents did
different than what a typical migrant farm working family was in spite of their third
grade education, was that they put a lot of emphasis in education. They didn't understand
it, but they knew it was something good.
And so Monday through Friday where ever we were we were in school. And Saturday and Sunday
rolled around where ever we were we were working right aside Mom and Dad in the fields trying'
to supplement the family income.
And-and-and while a lot of kids looked forward to summer vacation, the Hernandez kids kinda
hated summer vacation 'cause we knew what that signified --
that represented we had to be out there in the fields seven days a week so that was no
I-I also remember, I also remember that my parents were very, very smart. I swear they
would have made great psychologists 'cause-'cause one of the things that they always did is
they did little things that kinda had a lot of strong, a strong message with respect to
I remember every day when we used to, it almost turned out to be a game, but-but whenever
we used to go home after a long day's work, for example if we were picking cucumbers you
wear Levis and they get muddy in the morning and then they dry up during the day, the sun
bakes 'em. I remember when we used to go home us kids used to play games see who could make
their Levis stand up on themselves.
And we used to kid around that that's the person that worked the hardest that day, but
actually it's, I always won 'cause I was always rolling around in the mud 'cause I was the
youngest one, right so.
But anyway I remember every day my Dad used to, we used to get in the back seat of the
car after a long day's work, we were hot, sweaty, dusty, and before he start the car
and like I said we used to, we used to make this a game 'cause we said, "He's gonna forget
today. He's gonna forget." And before he put the key in the ignition he would look back
and say, "How do you guys feel today?" And that was the message all, every day. And of
course we would always say, "Well we're tired." And he'd say, "Well good." He says, "Remember
this feeling 'cause if you don't go to school so I'm not gonna force you to go to school,
but if you don't go to school, get good grades, this is what you're gonna do the rest of your
life." And so it was pretty, a pretty powerful message.
Also I remember each time we came home from school, each time we came home from school
my Mom would always sit us on the kitchen table while she made her homemade tortillas
and-and food for us to eat after school, she-she made sure that we finished our homework.
And she helped us with our homework up to the third grade. After the third grade since
that's all she went to school for I mean she couldn't help us anymore.
But it only took me once though I figured out she was smart enough not to, not to help
us, but she was smart enough to realize that we, if we, to know if we finished our homework
or not. 'Cause it only took me one test --
to test her out on that and a visit with the belt to-to --
Not-not try it again. So I made sure I-I did finish my homework every day.
But-but-but things, that's how it was when I was in, was small as-as I remember it.
And things actually changed a bit when I was, when I was in about in second grade.
I mentioned I'm, I was the youngest in the family and I was in the second grade and November
rolled around and it was time to go to Mexico, right? And we, here we were in Stockton and-and
my teacher tell, my Dad tells me, "Hey we're gettin' ready to go to Mexico," like he always
did every year. "Get three months worth of homework," 'cause when we went to Mexico we
self-studied ourselves. We did our own homework since Christmas vacation was around the corner
and it wasn't worth it for us to go to school in Mexico, so we took three months worth of
And so I said, "Okay that's fine." So I went to school that day and I talked to my teacher
Mrs. Yung, a-a young Chinese teacher; she was real tall, well I mean tall for a second
grader 'cause she's actually short, but-but to a second grader she looked --
she looked tall to me and anyway a beautiful young Chinese teacher and-and I told Mrs.
Yung I said, "Mrs. Yung we're gonna to Mexico. Can I have my three months' worth of homework?"
And-and then she looked at me and her eyes rolled, she rolled her eyes and of course
she had been through this routine with my three other siblings 'cause they'd been through
the second grade. So she knew the routine. But this time she said, "You know what? Tell
your Dad and Mom that I'm coming home today to visit them." And I said, "Oh, okay."
So that day I ran home. We lived about a mile and a half from school. You crossed railroad
tracks, packing sheds, and all that and in those days you could walk to school for a
mile and a half. I guess these days you'll get arrested for child abuse if you let your
your kid walk a mile and a half to school, right? But in those days it was alright.
I remember I ran that day as fast as I could and I told my par, my parents I said, "Hey
the-the teacher's gonna come today." And of course you get two separate reactions from
your parents, right?
The first reaction is your Dad. First thing he starts doing, he starts taking off his
and says, "Alright boy, what'd you do?"
And I, I tell him, "I didn't do anything. I promise." He said, "You know it's gonna
be twice as bad if she tells me what you did --
if you don't tell me, right?"
[laughs] And I said, "I-I promise. I think it has to do with Mexico." And he said, "Okay,
you better be right boy." He said, "You better be right."
I say, "Yeah."
And of course the other reaction's completely opposite from the Mom, right? Mom, and if
you're Hispanic you would understand this more, I think. But you get that home alone
reaction from Mom. "The teacher's coming? We gotta clean the house!"
"We gotta cook a feast 'cause la maestra is coming." It's, the Hispanics have this big
respect for educators and so, and so-so all the bells and whistles come out when they
figure that the maestra was coming.
And as I remember she came, we ate very good, I-I remember even telling my teacher, Mrs.
Yung, I said, "You oughta come more often."
'Cause we ate so well that day. And-and-and so, and so, and so she came and after-after
dinner and everything in her words and-and I remember she used terms that my parents
could understand because I was sort of helped interpret and-and she basically told my parents,
she said, "Hey you guys oughta stay in one place. Don't live a nomadic life. Set root
in one place so the trees can grow strong." And obviously the trees were the kids; the
four kids 'cause she had had all four kids.
And she said, "Look your kids, I've had all four of them they're-they're kind of bright
and if you give 'em a chance they can be something when they grow up."
And my parents to again, to their credit they-they-they actually took that advice. I mean We still
went to Mexico that year, but we instead of coming back to Ontario and doing the-the migrant
thing, we went straight to Stockton. And we started making Stockton our home.
And then our three month trips started shrinking to about three weeks centered around Christmas
holidays so we didn't miss a lot of school.
And that's when our education started to get traction. And it was, it was also the fact
that my parents, my Mom like I said she would have made a great psychologist, I mean she
also put the burden on us with respect to gettin' an education 'cause she, she would
never say, "Oh you know I hope you guys go to college. I hope you guys are gonna do this."
She always said, "When." She sort of set that bit in our brain and she always said it was
We didn't know any better even though they only went to the third grade, we knew we had
to go to college else our, we were gonna have to answer with our parents, to our parents.
So-so-so that's when we started gettin' traction in our education 'cause we started gettin'
a little bit more stability.
And I-I guess the other thing, the question would-would say is well then how was it that
you actually became an astronaut? Or what-what made you become an astronaut?
And I think I could point to three events in my life that sort of took me to that, to
that, to that point or to this road that I'm now walking on.
The first, I think I have to give thanks to my migrant farm working background because
I remember as a kid when we used to go work in the fields we used to go in the darkness
of night right before dawn, before the sun comes up. You drive out to the fields.
So you go out in country away from light pollution and my favorite part of the, of the trip was
when we got there I was able to get out, it was dark and I could look up and no light
pollution from city lights or anything and you could see the dark sky. And you could
see the stars and they were, they almost like in 3D they were so clear. And-and so I just
had that attraction to it. Probably didn't hurt the fact that Star Trek was on during
But-but-but-but really that's what attracted me.
And then, and then the next one was when I was about 10 years old. Unfortunately I'm
old enough to remember the-the tail end of the Apollo program and I remember Apollo 17
We, as you guys are know or oh yeah you guys are so young you guys wouldn't know, but-but-but
you guys may have read in the history books, how's that?
When there was an Apollo mission and there was a moon walk they would preempt programming
on TV and you would have folks like Walter Cronkite narrate the moon walk.
And of course the very last mission Apollo 17, everybody-everybody would stop and watch
the mission and-and everybody in the U.S. and the world I imagine. And the Hernandez
family was no different.
Only difference is the fact that we had an old black and white TV and I'm not sure if
you guys have seen pictures of those old black and white TV's, but they're those big consoles
like a piece of furniture. They have a screen in the middle and integrated speakers, four
little legs and a big honking knob to change the channel. That was our TV.
Only difference with ours was that ours was black and white and-and snowy picture. And
I remember sometimes you'd lose that horizontal sync, you get that bar in the picture, and
so the only way to fix it is you hit it on the side and then it would stop. Now that
was our TV.
And at that time there wasn't any satellite TV programming, but we did have cable TV,
but God forbid we have cable 'cause we couldn't afford it so we have the next best thing.
We had what was called rabbit ear antennas to increase reception on top of the TV.
And so of course whenever something important came on the family wanted a nice clear picture,
right? So guess who they called to adjust the TV? I was, since I was the youngest one,
right, I was the official channel changer.
And I know, I know now why this happens but 'cause I'm an electrical engineer, but as
soon as I grabbed the antennae guess what happened? The picture would improve, right?
And guess what my Dad would say? "Stay there."
So-so here I am in a contortionists mode trying to watch-watch TV while tryin' to keep Mom
and Dad and my, the rest of my siblings happy and them watching a good, a good picture,
right? And-and I also remember, I also remember whenever we needed to change the channel guess
who the official channel changer was? It was yours truly, as well.
And I remember one day when-when-when I went up for the umpteenth time to change the channel
my, I figured I'd say okay I'm gonna say somethin' very subtle to my Dad 'cause you had to understand
my Dad. You can't, you can't direct him to do anything or you'll get yourself slapped.
But-but I would say I'm gonna do somethin' very political and just kinda say it very
subtle as-as he sent me for the twelfth time to change the channel that day.
I said, "Hey Dad you know you know they have those new TVs now that have remote control
and they're color too." And-and then so I went quickly, I said I'm gonna go quickly
and change the channel so he doesn't get mad at me. So I changed it. And then I went back
and sat down and then he stood up and he looked at me and he kinda like a little pitiful little
shake in his head --
He says, "Son", he says, "why do I need a remote control when I have you?"
And then he said, "You-you want color?" He says, "You want color?" He says, "Use your
imagination that way you can put any color you want."
So he had a practical answer for that. We kept our TV for the, for the next few years
until it finally went out. That's when we got a new one.
But-but I remember the images, the images that we saw on TV of the astronauts walking
on the moon. I remember seeing them so vividly. It's one-sixth the gravity so when they were
walking in their space, in their, in their lunar suits jumping and doing slow motion
maneuvers it's, it kinda like captivated me. I sat down in front and watched.
Then I would go outside and I would see the moon up there and I would stare at it for
a few minutes, come back and watch, watch 'em again on TV. And then I would do that
about four or five times.
And that's when the-the actual idea for me came to say, "You know that's what I wanna
be. I wanna be an astronaut."
I'm sure every nine, ten year old kid at that age wanted to be an astronaut too.
And that's the other thing I gotta give credit to my parents, is I shared that dream with
them and instead of them saying, "Hey you're shootin' too high. Maybe you oughta just think
about finishing high school going to college," they actually nurtured that dream.
That's why I think they would have made good psychologists 'cause they-they fed that dream,
they nurtured it. They said, "Anything's possible in this country," they said. "Just get yourself
a good education and work hard. You put those two ingredients together you can do whatever
I'm sure knowing-knowing how my Dad is, I'm sure what he was thinking behind in the back
of his head he was probably saying, "Poor guy doesn't stand a chance, but let's not
burst his bubble."
But-but no, but they actually, they actually did nurture-nurture that dream and that's-that's
when at the same time my education started to gain traction.
So the third part, the third event that sort of what I call "sealed the deal" for me to
become an astronaut was when I was a senior in high school. And that was when I heard
over the radio that some guy named Franklin Chang hyphen Diaz got selected as the first
Hispanic astronaut. And I said, "Wow." I said, "Chang," okay I wasn't too crazy about the
Chang part but --
But the Diaz, I could relate to the Diaz.
I mean that's like Hernandez. And so I started reading about him. I started reading about
him and you know what I found out? I found out that there was many similarities between
him and I. He came from a humble background from Costa Rica. He had brown skin like me.
He spoke English with an accent like me. Yet he was a U.S. astronaut.
And so I kinda got jealous. Jealous in a good way 'cause I said, "You know if he was able
to do it, why can't I do it?" And that sort of empowered me.
And that goes back to what you guys are here. You guys are also role models in your community.
That if folks go out there, young kids go out there and see you, and you see kids like
you, you empower them to say, "He looks just like me. He was able to do it. Why can't I
And that, I think that's what's important.
And so that's when I made the personal promise to myself to-to get selected and work as an
And so I went to college, Pacific. You guys heard my-my-my background in my work. I went
Pacific, went to graduate school at Santa Barbara, and then started working down the
road here at Lawrence Livermore National Lab. I worked here 14 years at Lawrence Livermore
And I started applying to NASA. And-and Tiffany I applied 12 times. Twelve years in a row.
So the-the-the other key is perseverance; it's perseverance. 'Cause I applied the first
six years, I would just get a thanks, a postcard saying, "We received your application. Don't
call us; we'll call you" kind of thing.
And-and-and-and so I just started building my career, my curriculum and started gettin'
work of becoming a pilot, scuba diver, and doing work related to the space industry.
And that's, six years into the process I got my first call.
And the selection process is, is actually pretty simple; gettin' selected is the tough
part, but the process is pretty simple.
It-it-it's basically there's over 4,000 people that apply each year and they don't select
a class every year. They'll select it every two or four years.
And what they do is they review those 4,000 and then after that they'll select about 300
where they'll take a closer look at your application. If you have technical publications they'll
ask for 'em so they can read 'em. They'll talk to your boss.
After those 300 are reviewed they'll down select to 100. What I call "the 100 lucky
ones." Because these 100 whenever there's a selection that year get invited to spend
a week at NASA, the Johnson Space Center.
And there you spend one week where you go through a series of psychological tests and
make sure that you're not crazy and obviously we need some improvement in that process.
And-and-and also-also they go very detailed medical exams and I mean very detailed and
I'm not sure if any, if there's any males over 40 but if-if you are over 40 you know
what I'm talking about.
And then, and then, and then, and then it ends, it ends with a, it ends with a-a series
of interviews with a panel of about 12 to 18 people. A lot of 'em sittin' astronauts.
And then after that everybody goes home.
And then from there about 20 percent get medically disqualified, usually eyesight, somethin'
wrong with their ticker, or hearing's not up to standards that they need.
And so from those 80, they'll probably select about 40 to do a-a serious medical, I mean
a serious security background check; make sure you're paying your taxes, you're a good
citizen and all that.
From those 40 then they'll select anywhere from 10 to 18 astronauts for that particular
And that's how the process is.
So year six was my first year that I got invited. I was made it to that 100 and to that 80,
to that 40, and then guess what? I didn't get selected. So that was in '98, right '98.
So I had to wait another two years. I kept applying, kept applying.
And then in 2000 again I made it to the 100, 80, 40. This time I didn't tell a lot of people
'cause then I didn't have to explain a lot as to why I didn't get selected. And it was
a good thing I didn't because I didn't get selected.
And so, and so once again it, after eight years of applying and two interviews, I came
out empty handed. So I just kept applying.
Four years later I was invited before those four years after the eighth year I was invited
to come and work at NASA as an engineer. I worked there and then four years later they
did another selection round and, which is my twelfth year in the whole process. And
that's when I finally got selected. That was 2004.
So-so what happens then is-is your class shows up from all over the country; they come from
all walks of life. They're researchers, they're engineers, they're doctors, geologists, from
the military. And they show up as a class and they start training.
So we train, 'cause obviously we're not, we're not qualified to for a space, be assigned
to a space mission so we train for two years.
Once you finish the training then you get a technical assignment and then you get assigned
to a mission.
So that's what happened to me. I showed up at 2004; trained for two years; 2006 had a
technical assignment; and then in 2008 I got assigned to a mission. And then last year
was when the mission was fully realized.
And so-so-so the mission that we got selected, that I got selected for was STS-128. The actual,
usually it doesn't match up that well, but in this particular case it did match up very
well; 128 stands for the hundredth and twenty-eighth mission of the Space Shuttle Fleet. And it
was aboard Discovery.
I was the flight engineer because and I think it the coolest position because I sit right
behind the-the commander and the pilot kind of like in the middle and I have the best
seat of the house 'cause it's the panoramic view is what I call it as we take off into
The Mission Specialist Number One is to my right and then, so that's four of us on the
And then on the mid-deck you'll-you'll see we'll have three astronauts there. Those are
usually our space walkers 'cause they don't have any responsibilities during our ascent
or descent of our mission, and so they're just sittin' there as passengers in the mid-deck.
And then what you're gonna see is you're gonna see the-the actual launch sequence of our
We launched after several scrubs, we launched on August 28th about 11:30 at night; it was
a night launch.
And you're gonna see how-how the launch goes, the sequence goes. You're gonna see the three
engines light up.
Inside the way it feels is you-you hear the engines light up, you feel this gentle vibration
as you're sittin' there, you've been up there for about three hours so you're ready to go.
and believe me you're up there for three hours, right? And one of the things I wanna tell
you is that you don't wanna screw up because if you launch you know that in eight and a
half minutes you're up in space and you can go to the restroom and activate the restroom
and go to the restroom up there.
Whereas if they scrub, you gotta wait another hour and half be-before they finally extract
you so you can go to the restroom.
So-so you're always crossing your fingers, "I hope we launch. I hope we launch."
And-and so, and so the way the launch sequence goes is-is-is they light up the three rocket,
the three engines, you feel the vibration, and then about two seconds later the two solid
rocket boosters light up.
The-the noise level goes up in order of magnitude, the vibration is more violent. Just when you
think the whole thing is gonna fall to one side and fall over, you feel a push in your
back and you're off to the races.
You're up, you're up accelerating and those two solid rocket boosters are only, they provide
the thrust, the major thrust at the beginning. They're only lit up for two and half minutes.
In two and half minutes explosive bolts separate them, parachutes come out on them, and they're
recovered in the ocean by a boat that's waitin' for them.
The three engines are fed by the-the main tank, the central tank that the big tank.
It's actually two little tanks that-that-that has liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen and
they're feeding the three engines and they go on for another six minutes.
And then, and-and at that point you're going 17,500 miles an hour; you're up about 280-300
miles up above, and you're going around the world every 90 minutes.
And so we were up there 14 days. I, we went, which meant we went around the world 217 times,
about 5.7 million miles. I wish we had frequent flies with programs --
with the airlines 'cause then there would be, I would be sittin' pretty.
But-but-but you'll see us. We rendezvoused with the International Space Station; physically
docked to them, docked with them and then, and did our work, and then undocked and came
And so we start the video you can see what --
The first thing you're gonna see is you're gonna see our mission patch. That's the first
order of business of any new crew. You gotta have a patch and you gotta design it and of
course everybody's last name is on there and there was seven of us.
We had three main objectives and I'll explain 'em as we go along.
But right now the mission director is giving our commander the go ahead to go and launch.
If-if the volume can go up.
>>Mission Director:[unintelligible] Mother Nature is cooperating so it looks like [unintelligible]
We wish you and your team good luck and Godspeed.
>>unidentified voice: Godspeed, NASA, caption and the crew of Discovery. Thank you everyone
who helped [unintelligible]. I'm gonna step up the signs on the International Space Station.
>>unidentified voice: [unintelligible]
>>unidentified voice: Discovery, roger. [unintelligible]
>>Jose Hernandez: This is the mid-deck guys; the three of 'em.
That's the three engines lighting up.
[sound of Shuttle taking off]
And the solid rocket boosters.
>>unidentified voice: [unintelligible] five, six, seven [unintelligible]
>>unidentified voice: This is Discovery all program.
[sound of Shuttle taking off]
>>unidentified voice: [unintelligible] Discovery.
>>Jose Hernadez: The first four minutes is like an eticket ride in Disneyland. It's actually
The second four and a half minutes the g-forces start building up and-and it feels --
>>unidentified voice: [unintelligible] Alright.
>>Jose Hernadez: and it feels like first you have a newborn baby on-on your chest and that
baby grows to like a 600 pound gorilla 'cause you-you have trouble breathing.
There you see the two solid rocket motors separating.
>>unidentified voice: Assist is just kickin' off.
>>Jose Hernandez: The-the exhaustion of the three engines continuing on.
>>unidentified voice: [unintelligible] Copy, Jose.
>>unidentified voice: There it is.
>>Jose Hernandez: It's-it's the exhaust --
>>unidentified voice: [unintelligible] your seat if you want to, do it.
>>Jose Hernandez: And right there you saw the explosive bolts for the separation.
>>unidentified voice: Alright. Good job.
>>unidentified voice: Thanks. [unintelligible]
I'm waitin' for the twenty second flood decks.
>>Jose Hernandez: Next up you're gonna see is the separation from the external tank.
The external tank is not, is not recoverable; it breaks up into pieces as it enters the
>>unidentified voice: Started it at 56. I will release it at 16 after.
>>Jose Hernadez: And then in eight and a half minutes we reach MECO, which is called main
engine cut off. And there you can see that's me, that's waving there saying, "Hey, I can't
believe we reached space here." Let me, being the good engineer and scientist that I am,
"Let me do a test here." And first thing I do is I throw somethin' say, "Does this thing
I said, "I guess we are in space."
One of our objectives was to take one of our crew mates, Nicole Stott, up to the International
Space Station. We were gonna leave her up there for three months and bring back someone
who had been up there for three months.
The, once we get up there one of the first things we do is we open up the payload bay
doors. We do that because the radiators are on the inside portion of the payload bay doors;
they provide the cooling to our electronics equipment so it's very important we do that
And then the folks that were down in the mid-deck; three folks that were down in the mid-deck
start cleaning up the mid-deck. They remove and fold the chairs they were on and start
There's Danny Olivas, he's from El Paso. And they activate the galley and they activate
the restroom, which you see right there.
And-and-and then I myself start puttin' together the portable on-board computers. And these
are the ones that are gonna help up during the rendezvous with the International Space
Our Commander C.J. Sturckow, he's the last one to get out of his pressure suit. While
he does that other folks and I'm puttin' the computers together; other folks are puttin'
other pieces of equipment together including the psychoergometer. Remember that there's
zero-g, you're in micro-g environment so we have to keep our legs muscles strong so we
exercise every day; there's a protocol.
Every morning we do the same thing we do at home with respect to hygiene. We brush our
teeth, we, those of us that need it, we shave. And-and then we look at what our day's assignment
is for-for that day.
One of, the next day we do what's called an orbital maneuver system burn, OMS burn, that
bring us closer to the International Space Station for our rendezvous.
There you see Nicole Stott with her binoculars looking at what's gonna be her home for the
next three months. That's about 20 miles away as she was looking at it.
And of course we get closer and closer. When we get about 600 feet we do a maneuver what's
called a flip maneuver where the station folks are taking pictures of our underbelly.
This is the perspective of the station crew as they see us approaching the-the International
We stop; we do the maneuver; they take high resolution pictures and that's to make sure
we didn't suffer any damage on our thermal protection system, our belly, during ascent.
Once we're cleared for that then they give us the go ahead for Prox Ops, Proximity Operations.
And this requires a lot of high level crew resource management as we get in closer and
closer into the, onto the International Space Station and basically dock, physically dock
>>unidentified voice: Maybe about point oh six.
>>unidentified voice: Here comes a [unintelligible]
>>unidentified voice: Okay.
>>unidentified voice: Get it back --
>>unidentified voice: Yeah. That's okay. Yeah.
>>unidentified voice: Good, a firm idea of what it is.
>>unidentified voice: Exactly Techs warned us about that.
>>unidentified voice: Okay.
>>unidentified voice: I think you got it up to about --
>>Jose Hernadez: During docking our commander is the one that's in control. The pilot's
giving him cues and I'm down at the computers giving them the-the rates which is the, which
is the speed at which we're closing in; the-the distance –
>>unidentified voice: Overlap.
>>Jose Hernandez: and trajectory.
And you'll see when we finally bump into the Station, you'll see us bump right there.
>>unidentified voice: [unintelligible] fired.
>>Jose Hernandez: At this point now we're waiting for the latches to latch onto the
Station and then we're gonna get some confirming cues, some lights that tell us that capture
>>unidentified voice: Alright.
>>unidentified voice: Alright. Yeah.
>>various voices: Yea!!!! Alright! Good job!
>>Jose Hernandez: We're happy that we didn't bounce off of the Station. This allows us
to open our-our-our door that has access to the Station.
The Station folks do the same thing at their end and there's a little a vestibule that
basically serves as the interface between us and the International Space Station.
So-so-so now the crew on the other side, Gennady Padelka was the commander, Russian. He rings
the door, the-the bell that basically announces the arrival of a new crew.
[sound of bell ringing]
And so there's six of them there and seven of us. So that's 13 astronauts at once in
space representing five countries. So truly a international affair there of-of us working
You see how happy there, they are of seeing us. And I can tell you that they're happy
not because we're such good buds, but these guys have been up there for about three or
four months eating a bunch of dehydrated food and they know we've got fresh vegetables and
So-so they're saying, "Oh yeah. What kind of food did you bring?"
One of the second objectives, the second objective of us was to take out the MPLM, Multi-Purpose
Logistics Module which is basically a small portable lib, portable laboratory. It's more
like a storage thing than anything where we-we pick it up out of the payload bay door with
the robotic arm and then we install it on one of the ports of the Station. And you can
see Kevin Ford had the honors of doing that. I had the honors of de-installing it and putting
it back into the, onto the Shuttle.
And once we do that it allows our colleagues to actually open the door from the inside
of this MPLM and it gives us access to inside of it.
You can see us wearing goggles and masks because for the first time someone's going in there
in a zero-g environment. So there could be metal shavings, dust particulates, and it's
not until the filtering system catches all that that we're allowed to go in there without
Once we're allowed to go in there we begin the sequence of-of basically transferring
over seven tons of material from that Multi-Purpose Logistics Module onto the International Space
And then we transfer about one ton of material back in which includes trash and any equipment
that they no longer need on the Station.
Nicole here you can see her take a, an experiment that she started on the Shuttle and transfers
it to the Station because it's her experiment and she's gonna stay on the Station for the
next three months, so all her experiments travel with her as well. And so here we are
puttin' that together.
Here you see us having a meeting. Really orientation is not an issue 'cause there is no right up
or down so we basically meet in any orientation.
And we're just discussing what we're gonna to be doing the next day.
And of course the next day is our first space walk. The first space walk was conducted by
Danny Olivas and Nicole Stott.
And-and you see Tim Kopra there. He's the one we traded for. He's the one that came
home with us.
But he and I have the dubious honor of making sure that these guys put on their space suits
correctly because if you, if you see if you realize the space suit is the only thing that's
gonna be keeping them alive. That's their space ship once they do their space walk.
And we gotta make sure that the-the helmets are well sealed, the gloves, the boots are
well sealed, the life support system is working properly, the computers are working properly,
communications working properly, the cameras, the lights, everything's working before we
give 'em the go to go outside.
And so we go through all those checks. It's about a three hour process before they're
even out the door. And-and so once we're convinced we get out; they depressurize; it allows 'em
to open up the outside door and-and out they go.
>>unidentified voice: See the interlock thermal cover is open. You can egress the airlock.
Remember to avoid that MMOD [unintelligible].
>>unidentified voice: [unintelligible]
>>Jose Hernandez: And we do have some cameras outside where, that we control and we see
this through cameras. You can see Danny coming out and initiating the space walk. They always
go out in pairs of two.
You can see those yellow handles; those are the handles that astronauts translate in.
And-and they move from-from-from module to module with those handles.
One of the things that we do is since we don't have cameras everywhere, we do put cameras
on their helmets and that way we can see what they're doing with respect to the work that
You can see here Danny's taking a picture of himself right now.
And-and, but-but it's-it's actually good way of us keeping track of what work they're doin'.
And then when they have to move long distances or we have to take a lot of equipment with
'em, what we do is we attach 'em to the end of the robotic arm. And Kevin Ford and I were
the ones that were operating the arm while they were conducting their space walks. So
we would move 'em from place to place.
And during that process you would stop and you would see just amazing scenery, but of
course you gotta continue working as-as we went.
And I mentioned that we, you-you go around the world every 90 minutes; that means you
have 45 minutes of daylight; 45 minutes of nighttime. Just because it becomes nighttime
we don't stop working. We just ask the astronauts to turn on their helmet lights and as they
turn on their helmet lights they can continue working through the night.
And-and-and then once daylight shows up again then they can turn off their-their helmet
lights and they continue their work.
But-but it's certainly a-a long process. It's about seven hours during a space walk.
So these guys after-after that's done we let 'em back in and-and what we try to do is we
try to extract them out of the space suits for as quickly as we can.
They've been in the space suit for three hours for prep and then seven hours out there; that's
10 hours. They haven't eaten anything; they do have a camel bag of water that they drink.
And I'm guessing if they did drink it I'm guessing they gotta go to the restroom. So
we try to get 'em out of there as, as quickly as we can.
And then we clean up the suits and get 'em ready for the next space walk 'cause they
conducted a total of three-three space walks. Between three of the astronauts, Nicole, Danny
Olivas, and Christer Fuglesang, who's a Swedish astronaut, they did that.
Now while they're doing their space walks, other astronauts are doing other things throughout
the mission. And one of the things is we're transferring that, those seven tons of material.
Here-here you see is a treadmill. Remember Colbert wanted the naming rights of a module?
Well, guess what? NASA wasn't about to give him a whole module so we did the next best
thing. We actually christened that the Colbert Treadmill so --
so he got a treadmill named after him. And there's a little sticker in there that actually
has his picture on there. But --
but-but-but-but yeah we-we did name it after him. We installed it and-and-and for the astronauts
to have an additional piece of equipment to exercise.
And then we moved in the mat, the stuff that belonged to Tim Kopra into the MPLM because
he was gonna come home with us.
And then after emptying the-the front contents of the racks we rotate the racks and guess
what there's a whole bunch of other equipment on the back side that we have remove.
And we have to put things in the right order. There's a big effort in housekeeping on the
International Space Station. In other words, whenever they say put this in this compartment,
it's gotta be there because if you can't find it, it's like looking for a needle in a haystack.
And then we use our feet as hands 'cause obviously we don't walk on in space so we sort of use
it in novel ways to transport. Like right there he's transporting food trays from the
MPLM to the International Space Station.
And then once we make some room, we have some fun. It wouldn't be space if you couldn't
have fun. And here Nicole and I are just enjoying the free space. Then I get this bright idea,
I see these bungee cords there and I say, "Come here, Nicole." And then I push her and
I say, "Let me get this on film."
Einstein was right; for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
And then we're not supposed to play with-with food, but we got an exception here so that
we can make our space eyeball. It's a Lifesaver with water and Nicole, I mean and Tim Kopra
takes care of it.
Okay, no self righteous Mexican would do this to a tortilla: peanut butter on one side and
jelly on the other but --
but it was Kevin Ford our pilot so we let him, we let him do it, but actually it tasted
pretty good. I tasted it.
Our-our Commander Marine gets a haircut every three days whether he needs it or not.
And then you wonder about hygiene. This is how we take showers and stuff; shampoo our
hair we just put the shampoo on-on the hair, get a towel, rub it in, and dry it off, and
we're good to go.
When we take showers we just wet the towel and we do what's called a cowboy shower, just
wet ourselves and then there.
You need a Ph.D. to see why this thing rotates back and forth like that, but it's pretty
interesting. Kevin Ford tried to explain to me I couldn't get it. So I said, "Well do
it to me, see if that happens to me." But unfortunately it didn't work out like that.
But it was fun, though and nevertheless it was fun rotating like that. I said, "Let me
film it on camera just so you guys can appreciate that perspective." And if you are wondering,
yes I did get dizzy.
And then here-here I am at the robotics work station. Now I'm de-installing the MPLM and
we're gonna install it back into the payload bay.
And-and-and then the very last night that all 13 of us are together we have dinner together
for the very first time. We usually we had dinner at different times since we were so
busy. And of course there's a, it's international food. We had Mexican food, American, Russian
food, French food, and it was just a good feast that we had that day.
And of course some people like to show off their food eating skills; other people shouldn't
show it off.
The sad thing is he had been up there the longest.
There you see us toasting, drinking water because it's from our urine processing assembly
system. So yes, we do drink our urine and I promise it tastes just like water.
There you see Nicole Stott saying good bye because this is the, this is the last time
we're gonna see her. She stays on the Station side; we stay on the, on-on-on the Discovery
side and we close our doors and this allows us to initiate the undocking sequence.
And believe it or not this little button is the one that does it all.
>>unidentified voice: Looks good.
>>Jose Hernadez: It initiates the sequence and then it initiates a process that is slow
as molasses on a cold day where you then start separating yourself from the International
And actually the springs on the docking mechanism once you undo the hooks provide the initial
push for us to separate. We try not to fire the jets a lot since we're right next to the
Station. We don't want the plumes to contaminate our solar panels. And so we-we just try to
minimize, use the small jets and minimize our movement.
And like I said it takes about an hour or so too for us to fully come out to a position
where we can actually use the normal jets.
And-and during that time I'm-I'm-I'm staffing the computers that are giving us all the rendezvous
information rates, distances, and trajectory and feeding that information to our-our pilot
who is now at the controls of the Shuttle and-and-and watching our separation.
In about-about 20 minutes you'll see us be about 20-30 feet away and which is about there
and in about 15-20 more minutes we get a couple hundred feet away and we get a full view of
the International Space Station.
At that point we begin our own circular maneuver around the International Space Station, because
now it's our turn to take high resolution pictures of the whole Station.
The engineers on the ground are gonna go ahead and-and look at these pictures; make sure
there's no micro-meteorite orbital debris hits on any part of the structure of the International
And that's the circular trajectory the one that I'm feeding to Kevin Ford; make sure
that he's, he is indeed flying a circular pattern around. At this point he's-he's pretty
much complete and he's happy as a clam 'cause that was a big maneuver for him.
This then allows us to put on the-the pressure suits because we're ready to come home now
and-and so we fire the jets; the atmospheric captures us and all of a sudden you start
And let me tell you after being 14 days in zero-g, gravity does suck.
There you see the, the-the fact that we went 25 times the speed of sound. We broke the
mock 25 barrier as we come in.
The Flight Director giving us last minute instructions. We were waved off of Kennedy
Space Center for the second day in a row because of bad weather. So we ended up landing at
Edwards Air Force Base.
And Eric Boe, one of our fellow astronauts, is the Cap-Com. He's giving us all the winds,
the weather, the data, the runway number for us to come in.
There we are at about 80-90,000 feet.
>>unidentified voice: [unintelligible]
>>Jose Hernandez: Pretty soon the, the Shuttle starts behaving like an airplane; the aerodynamic
surfaces start taking effect.
>>unidentified voice: Kevin, forward and control of the stick at this moment.
>>Jose Hernandez: And then for about a period of about 30 seconds our-our pilot takes control,
but the main control is our commander, he's the one that actually lands it.
>>unidentified voice: Hear a sonic boom.
>>unidentified voice: The late afternoon sunshine gleaming off its thermal protection heat shield.
>>unidentified voice: Three minutes until touchdown. Rich Sturckow has taken back the
stick from Kevin Ford. The vortices off the wing's very obvious. Discovery continuing
its turn around the heading alignment circle, aligning with runway 22 at Edwards Airforce
>>Jose Hernandez: This is the --
>>unidentified voice: [unintelligible] landing gear
>>unidentified voice: [unintelligible]. Thank you Jose.
>>Jose Hernandez: This is the perspective of the, of the pilots using the Heads Up Display,
HUD display. That's what they're looking at right now.
They're making the final turn onto to final and that green line you see there that is
the runway. It's highlighted right now, and it's steep. It looks like we're goin' straight
At this point you're about 10,000 feet, 300 miles an hour is what it says right there.
And you see the runway there. You're coming in at a pretty steep angle. You do what's
called a "flare maneuver."
>>unidentified voice: Very nice. You did [unintelligible]
>>unidentified voice: Yep.
>>unidentified voice: [unintelligible]
>>Jose Hernandez: You see the speed brakes are out.
>>unidentified voice: Speed brakes right at 50. [unintelligible] Slow lag, down to the
[unintelligible], 400 [unintelligible] give us --
>>Jose Hernandez: Very important not to forget the gear.
>>unidentified voice: [unintelligible]
>>Jose Hernandez: And you can see how C.J. Sturckow, our commander, lands this. I mean
look at the back wheels they just touch at the same time. So he's-he's a good Marine
Look at that.
He brings the nose down. Once we have a delayed shoot deploy; once the nose gear comes down
they deploy the chute to start slowing us down a bit more. This then allows C.J. to
put the brake pedals and come to a full stop.
When he announces, "Full stop," that's when they stop the stop watch and-and the official
end of the mission is recorded at that time.
>>unidentified voice: Houston Discovery wheel stop.
>>unidentified voice: Copy. Wheels stop. Welcome home, Discovery. Congratulations on an extremely
successful mission, stepping up science to a new level on the International Space Station.
>>Jose Hernandez: And let me tell you, four hours later after that we were in [Boron]
at Domingo's. I was, I had a beer in my hand and --
and eating carne asada so it was pretty good.
It was pretty cool.
So-so-so that's how, that's sort of like the summary of a typical mission to the International
Space Station is.
And certainly --
certainly like I said, just to summarize what-what I've talked about is the fact that it-it was
nice to be able to realize a dream, but it certainly wasn't something that where I'd
say, "Hey I did this myself." I had a lot of help as you could saw from my, the way
I spoke about how I became an astronaut. Anecdotally I had help from my parents, my teachers, friends,
colleagues, and a little bit of per-perseverance.
So 12 times is a lot of times to apply and to want it, but figure if you want it bad
enough you keep doing it and-and it certainly did, wasn't hurting my career so it wasn't
like I thought I was wasting my time during the application process.
So thank you very much.
>>Mario: Well thank you. Thank you very much to Jose --
for being here today.
So we do have a lot of questions from Dory and I'm sure you have questions. To be honest
he particularly has to fly fairly soon. So we'll try to keep it short, maybe ask one
or two questions from Dory and maybe one or at most two live. So if you want to line up
and keep it short.
So the first question from someone in Mountainview called John R., he says, "How do you feel
about the fact that since the Apollo program ended we've never gone beyond low-low air
orbit? Do you think that's sufficient for a national space program or should we press
for more manned space exploration, return to more Mars perhaps?
>>Jose Hernandez: Yeah, I think I-I think he's right in a sense that-that we've only
got three missions left for the Space Shuttle Fleet and then they're gonna get retired.
What that does is that frees up resources for us to invest in-in-in technology that's
gonna allow us to go beyond lower earth orbit. It does us no good to just go to the moon
and cool our heels there. We wanna be able to make sure we can also go all the way to
For that we need advanced propulsion systems; we need radiation protection; and-and we also
need to-to learn how to live long duration in a zero-g environment away from the protection
of the earth's magnetic field with respect to radiation. So-so-so yeah I think we're
heading that direction.
>>Mario: So Stacy from Mountainview she says, "I'm a daughter of a proud Kennedy Space Center
employee and have seen many Shuttle launches in my lifetime. I'm saddened by the decision
to end the Shuttle program. Why don't you tell us the decision and its im, and its impact
on Florida as a space coast?
>>Jose Hernandez: Yeah, I mean it's the equivalent when we the-the-there's no denial that in
ending the space program the Shuttle space program, there's gonna be a shift of talent
that's needed within NASA.
In other words, the operations side of maintaining the Shuttle, prepping it for a launch, and
refurbishing the Shuttle, those tasks aren't gonna be needed. So there is gonna be some-some
type of human resources let go with respect to the fact that that's what's not needed
But at the same time the budget of NASA's actually going up so the work force is not
really gonna go down, it's just gonna be a shift of a different type of work force.
And-and it's basically the same thing that happened between the-the era of the Apollo
and the Space Shuttle Mission. If you see the history during Apollo when we cancelled
Apollo there was a big drop in the number of folks needed on the operation side. And
then when the Shuttle came back when we brought the Shuttle to life, those people were picked
up and-and then you had a real vibrant work force.
I mean same thing's gonna happen with retiring the Shuttle. There's gonna be a dip at Kennedy
Space Center 'cause they're more primary operations oriented, but when we get the architecture
defined and built then the work force is gonna steadily go back up.
>>Mario: Yeah Jose, well thank you very much for share all this with us. We are really
happy and it was great seriously. We wanna give you this --
>>Jose Hernandez: Oh, thank you very much.
>>Mario: gift; token of our appreciation. Thank you very much for being here with Google.
>>Jose Hernandez: Thank you.
>>Mario: I think those guys are very happy with your messages and just wanna let you
know that we got some T-shirts that it's a raffle, right?
>>2Gonzalo Begazo: Yeah, so we're gonna email the winners. [unintelligible]
>>Jose Hernandez: And just so, just so he make sure he gives out the right amount I
think I signed six of 'em alright so --
make sure he gives away six.
>>Gonzalo Begazo: Yeah, yeah.
We're gonna sell one on EBay.
>>Jose Hernandez: Exactly.
>>Mario: Well thank you very much; appreciate it; appreciate it.
>>Gonzalo Begazo: Thanks, guys.