John Herrington

John Herrington was born in 1958 in Wetumka, Oklahoma into the Chickasaw Nation. He attended University of Colorado Colorado Springs and earned a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics. Afterwards, he received his commission in the U.S. Navy in 1984 at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.

During his time in the Navy, Herrington was selected as an Aeronautical Engineering Duty Officer and later earned a Master of Science degree in aeronautical engineering in 1995 from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Afterwards, NASA selected Herrington in 1996 for the astronaut program.

Herrington was chosen as a Mission Specialist for STS-1113 and became the first Native American Indian to fly in outer space. He carried a flag of the Chickasaw Nation, presented to him by the Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, on his journey to space. On November 23, 2002, Endeavour launched, becoming the sixteenth space shuttle mission to the International Space Station. During the 13 day and 18 hour mission, Herrington spent 19 hours and 55 minutes in spacewalks. During this mission, Herrington and his co-astronaut Michael López-Alegría delivered the P1 Truss segment, which provided structural support for the Space Station radiators.

After retirement, Herrington authored a book title Mission to Space. This book offers a glimpse into his space experience and shares his passion for space. It also includes an English to Chickasaw vocabulary list for space-related terms.  

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