Retired United States Naval Aviator, Test Pilot, and Former NASA Astronaut
John Bennett Herrington is a retired United States Naval Aviator, test pilot, and former NASA astronaut. As a mission specialist, he made history becoming the first Native American in space aboard the Shuttle Endeavour in 2002. During the mission, he conducted three spacewalks totaling nearly 20 hours. To honor his Chickasaw heritage, Herrington carried a Chickasaw Nation flag on his 13-day trip into space. Shortly after retiring from NASA, Herrington began working on his new goal: to help spur a renewed interest in science and engineering among young people, specifically the Native American youth. He did this with a 4,200-mile, 63-day cross-country bicycle ride that occurred in 2008 and was titled Rocketrek. Herrington’s journey was to offer inspiration and encouragement to kids and raise awareness of opportunities in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In addition, Commander Herrington also earned a PhD in Education from the University of Idaho in 2014. His research investigated the factors that motivated and engaged Native American students on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation following a NASA summer program. He recently completed is first children’s book, Mission to Space, published by the Chickasaw Nation White Dog Press. He currently resides in Marion, MT with his sled dog Emme. Commander Herrington's presentation is sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation.