Spaceman-Turned-Politician Can Call Himself 'Astronaut' On Ballot
Former NASA spaceflyer Jose Hernandez, who is running for a seat in the U.S. Congress out of California this year, can call himself an astronaut on the ballot, a judge ruled Thursday (March 29). Hernandez, a Democrat, flew on the space shuttle Discovery's STS-128 mission in 2009 but left NASA more than a year ago, in January 2011. California Republicans had argued that Hernandez should not be allowed to list his occupation as "astronaut/scientist/engineer" on the ballot, the Los Angeles Times reported.But Judge Lloyd Connelly disagreed, saying that Hernandez is an astronaut for "more than the time spent riding a rocket," according to the Times. Hernadez is vying to represent California's 10th Congressional District, in the state's agriculture-heavy Central Valley. Hernandez knows the Valley and its leading industry well, having grown up picking fruits and vegetables all over California as the son of migrant farm workers.