Latinos in space: these are the astronauts who preceded Frank Rubio


With the Salvadoran trip Frank Rubio (NASA) to the International Space Station increases the number of Latinos in space. Its takeoff from Kazakhstan is scheduled for this Wednesday, in a joint mission with Roskosmos (Russia).

But, who have been the Latino astronauts who preceded Rubio in space travel?

First let’s establish something: we drink as Latinos too to the descendants of those born in our area. For example, Rubio was born in Los Angeles, but is the son of Salvadoran immigrants.

Few have seen the light in Latin America, although many are children or grandchildren of immigrants. And more: the majority of the astronauts on the list traveled with an American flag, as part of NASA.

Let’s review the list of Latin Americans who traveled to space.

Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez (Cuba)


The pioneer. He is not only the first Latin American, but also the first Afro-Caribbean who managed to travel to space. He did it as part of a mission from the Soviet Union, in the Soyuz mission on September 38, 1980. Brigadier General of Cuba, he received the Hero of the Republic of Cuba and Hero of the Soviet Union awards. He was in space 211 hours.

Rodolfo Neri Vela (Mexico)

NASA astronaut

He is not the first Latino NASA astronaut, but he is the first to travel to space. This native of Chilpancingo de los Bravo, Guerrero, was part of the STS-61-B mission, launched in November 1985. He spent 165 hours on the International Space Station.

Franklin Chang-Diaz (Costa Rica)

the honor of being NASA’s first Latin American astronaut It corresponds to Franklin Chang-Díaz, born in San José, Costa Rica. He joined NASA in 1980 and was selected as an astronaut in 1981, traveling to space for the first time in 1986, with the STS 61-C mission. In total, he logged 1,601 hours in space on seven different space missions (1986-2002). An icon for our America.

Sidney M. Gutierrez (Mexico)

NASA astronaut

The Mexican astronaut traveled to space on two missions: STS-40 (1991) and STS-59 (1994), accumulating a total of 488 hours in orbit.

Ellen Ochoa (Mexico)

First and, until now, only Latin American woman to travel to space. Ochoa was born in Los Angeles, California, and is the granddaughter of Mexican parents. She the physicist she was on four space missions between 1993 and 2002, exceeding 979 hours of experience. She then assumed the leadership of NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, being the second woman in the position and the first of Hispanic origin.

Carlos Noriega (Peru)

NASA astronaut

Born in Lima, this retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel was on two space missions: STS-84 (1997) and STS-97 (2000). It spent a total of 461 hours in orbit.

John “Danny” Olivas (Mexico)

NASA astronaut

Originally from North Hollywood, California, this Mexican descendant added more than 668 hours on two space missions, STS-117 (2007) and STS-128 (2009).

George D. Zamka (Colombia)

NASA astronaut

Originally from Jersey City, his mother is Colombian. In missions STS-120 (2007) and STS-130 (2010), this United States Marine Corps colonel totaled more than 692 hours in space.

Joseph M. Hace (Puerto Rico)

The experienced astronaut, the son of Puerto Ricans, is among the 18 astronaut members of Team Artemis.

He was born in Inglewood, California, and is of Puerto Rican descent. She traveled into space on missions STS-119 (2009) and Soyuz TMA-04M (2012). The Marine Corps sergeant is also a teacher, mathematician, and hydrogeologist, and is currently on the Artemis team along with Rubio. He totaled 306 days and 34 minutes in space.

Jose Hernandez Moreno (Mexico)

NASA astronaut

He was born in French Camp, California, the son of Mexican immigrants. He did not learn English until he was 12 years old. In 2009, as part of the STS-128 mission He spent 332 hours in space.

Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor (Cuba)

NASA astronaut

This astronaut and surgeon born in Indianapolis, of Cuban descent, traveled on the Soyuz MS-09 space mission, forming part of expeditions 56 and 57 of the International Space Station. He accumulated a total of 196 days in orbit.

Other Hispanic astronauts

They also highlight Spaniards Miguel López-Alegría (born in Spain, nationalized American), who traveled with NASA on four missions and recently with the private Axiom Space, and Peter Duke, with the ESA.

There were other Latino astronauts who, although they did the training, were unable to travel to space for various reasons, such as Mexicans Ricardo Peralta and Christopher “Gus” Loria, and Argentine Fernando “Frank” Caldeiro.

in Artemis there is, in addition to the Salvadoran Rubio, the Puerto Rican Acaba.

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