Former astronaut plans run for Congress

For months, people have speculated that Mark Kelly, the retiring NASA astronaut who is the husband of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), is planning a political career, despite repeated statements by him that’s he not interested in running for office. That speculation will likely continue this week as he participates in a formal retirement ceremony from the US Navy today at the White House, with Vice President Joe Biden presiding, and this weekend, when he is scheduled to speak at an Arizona Democratic Party fundraiser in Phoenix.

While Kelly has stated he’s not interested in a political career, another former astronaut is throwing his helmet into the ring. Jose Hernandez has filed papers to run for Congress in the new 10th district of California, which includes the city of Modesto in central California. Hernandez, a Democrat, has resigned from his position at MEI Technologies to explore a congressional bid, and is expected to make a formal announcement Tuesday, according to the Stockton Record report. The Federal filing document identifies his campaign web site as, although the site doesn’t appear to be up yet.

13 comments to Former astronaut plans run for Congress

  • amightywind

    It is no wonder the astronaut corps are disintegrating. Last year they manned the fleet of space shuttles. This year they are hitching rides with the Russians to that pointless outpost, the ISS, and hope to do exploration ‘some day’. The nation is crying out for space leadership. Good luck to the astronauts in their new careers. Well, at least to the ones that haven’t been seduced by ‘Solyndra Space’.

  • Tim Gallagher

    Yeah i would vote for you


    Recall the effective line used in the defeat of moonwalker/NM Senator Harrison Schmitt: “What on Earth has he done [for you] lately.”

  • The astronaut corp is completely dissolving before our eyes!! What, really, have any of these brave persons have left to look forward to?? More long & boring six month stints on board the dulls-ville ISS?? Being guests on board the Russian Soyuz? Before Barack Obama’s horrid, awful, infamous slaying of Project Constellation, American astronauts were to have been on their way to breaking low earth orbit, and venturing Moonward. I recall reading a vivid article in Air & Space magazine a couple years back, declaring the grandeur in the fact, that the class of 2009 selectees, were more than likely to be among the Orion-Altair crews, all set to re-explore the Moon, come the 2020’s. The Ares 1 was all set to launch the first Orion CEV capsules. THIS CRAFT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE SHUTTLE’S REPLACEMENT. But Mr. Obama just had to bungle the whole thing! The Augustine Commission also was infamous in this ghastlily bad political decision! How could they tell the American people, straight-faced, that a heavy-lift multi-stage rocket like the Ares 5 could never have been built; no matter how much money went into NASA’s budget?? What, this nation can never ever regain its know-how at building heavy-lift rockets? Construction of a heavy-lift vehicle was only something that we could’ve done just in the 1967-1973 time frame? What has happened to us as a nation? Have we truly abdicated our role as a space-faring power? In short, I cannot blame any of the NASA astronauts for quiting in droves during the limbo-time! Again, what’ve American spacemen have to look forward to, for the rest of the known decade?! I tell you something: NONE OF THESE EMINENT MEN & WOMEN SHOULD EVER VOTE FOR BARACK OBAMA FOR RE-ELECTION!! That flim-flam man decimated their careers! Consider the legion of Aerospace engineers, also. The Democrats should lose every one of their votes, in the next election!

  • vulture4

    Who was going to pay for Apollo on Steroids when every Republican, including you, is demanding tax cuts? Or were you just going to tax the Democrats? John McCain said in 2004 the Constellation was an illusion, because the real cost was many times the Bush request and the debt was over $400 billion, and the (at that time Republican) Congress would not pay for it. Will you?

  • The Ares 1 was all set to launch the first Orion CEV capsules. THIS CRAFT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE SHUTTLE’S REPLACEMENT.

    Even when you stupidly shout it out in all caps (as you often do with the stupid and uninformed things you write) this is not true. It would not do EVAs, would not return large payloads, would not support seven crew on two-week missions, would not perform research in orbit. It was not “the Shuttle’s replacement.”

  • PoorPete

    Beginning to look like the year of astronaut candidates.

  • Yeah, let’s go become astronauts! Ha! If you signed up for joining the military, it’s at least highly plausible that YOU’D ACTUALLY BE SENT SOMEWHERE. Today’s astronauts aren’t going any place, anytime soon. And certainly not on board an American-built spacecraft! You could actually bet loads of money, right here right now, and bet that no further American spacemen make a single flight off Earth, on board a U.S. vehicle, for the rest of the decade, and stand to win your bet, soundly! But to reply to Rand Simberg: (1.) A Space Shuttle could NOT venture anywhere beyond LEO; (2.) A Shuttle could NOT go to the Moon, to Lunar orbit and support a three or four-person crew for up to two weeks, either; (3.) Plus, you’re wrong—the Constellation-class Orion COULD perform deep space crew EVAs, because even the “ancient” Apollo craft was definitely able to do those; and indeed, Apollo HAD TO be capable of EVAs in the event that the docking latch mechanisms did not work effectively between it, the CM and the LM—-if the similar airlock connection systems for docking the Orion & the L-SAM craft did not operate right, and a linked-up craft crew transfer was not possible, then the astronauts would indeed have to depressurize the cabins, open the hatches, & perform a “spacewalk”, in deep cislunar space. My, my, how we forget our space history!! Plus: (4.) the Orion CEV would perform better than “research in orbit”; it would perform research in Lunar orbit—it could always be left manned by one single crewman, the way that the Apollo CM was. This could always be a safety option, during the first new manned Lunar forays, on the beginning missions. Some grandiose scientific investigations of the planet Luna, could be done, flying solo, some 70 miles up, in Low Lunar Orbit; as an afterthought option—-since the Altair L-SAM craft would certainly be designed to hold all three or four crewmen for the landing flight down. Finally: (5.) You are SO wrong again: The Ares rockets—-the Ares 5 booster—-would certainly have been capable of sending giant-size payloads to the Moon. It’s just that the weight of the Altair lunar lander would have to be changed into that of a one-way, unmanned freighter craft—-something talked about in the Apollo days, but never actually carried out. An unmanned cargo-landing variant of the lunar lander can be built & flown to emplace large sized modules onto the Moon’s surface. And do not forget that the Constellation plan called for the Ares 5 to launch and deliver into LEO, unmanned, the entire L-SAM/ Earth Depature Stage complement. That’s a hell of a lot of large payload potential in that game plan! Why these idiot commercial space advocates oppose the building of a heavy-lift rocket, is beyond me!!

  • vulture4

    However the Ares I cost as much or more than the Shuttle to launch, despite its miniscule payload. And it could only carry people to earth orbit, which can be done much less expensively with Falcon or Atlas.

    But the real problem is the attitude (more common at NASA than in the space advocacy community) that getting rid of Obama will create a blank check for returning to the moon with SLS/Orion. This is highly unlikely, Even Bush did not fund the Constellaiton program he created.

    Which leads me to ask, most of the astros entering politics seem to be running as Democrats, even though more of JSC sides the other way. What are the politics of the Astronaut Corps? Could that be a factor in their leaving now to run, either because they think they would have influence with the current administration or because they feel excluded at JSC?

  • Why these idiot commercial space advocates oppose the building of a heavy-lift rocket, is beyond me!!

    Yes, anything involving knowledge and logic is beyond you.

  • Vladislaw

    “What, really, have any of these brave persons have left to look forward to?? More long & boring six month stints on board the dulls-ville ISS?”

    Gosh you are correct, NASA can not find anyone that wants to do that. I hear there is going to be congressional hearings because no Astronauts want to stay on the ISS. It is a National crisis, there isn’t an American left that wants to do cutting edge research aboard the entire planet’s ONLY SPACE STATION!

    Man Chris, I am just stymied, what will we do now when astronauts don’t want to live in space anymore.

  • vulture4

    Hey, nobody asked me. Even if it’s only LEO, I’ll go.

  • @vulture; I don’t care one little bit about going to LEO! Doesn’t interest me a hoot! Unless, like in the lead-up to Apollo, it was expressly as an immediate-future preparation for the trans-lunar flights. (For instance, as an astronaut, I’d’ve been interested in flying either the Apollo 7 or 9 missions.) But I have zero, zilch interest in volunteering my precious adult life lifetime in staffing a stuck-in-low-earth-orbit research station; and going around in circles over the home planet, over & over again, for six months straight. Does NOT excite me! Sorry.

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