First American Indian Astronaut
Profile America — Saturday, November 20th. One of the people noted during National American Indian Heritage Month is John Bennett Herrington, the first American Indian astronaut. Born in Wetumka, Oklahoma, he became a naval aviator, then was selected for the astronaut program. Herrington logged 330 hours aboard the space shuttle Endeavor, including almost 20 hours working outside the space craft. He recently rode a bicycle across the country, speaking at schools to encourage students to study math and science. Herrington is an enrolled member of the Chickasaw nation and active on its behalf. He holds degrees in mathematics and aeronautical engineering, one of the 13 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives to earn at least a bachelor’s degree. Profile America is in its 14th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Sources: Chase’s Calendar of Events 2010, p. 547
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
U.S. Census Bureau, Facts for Features, CB09-FF.20