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Astronaut: Peninsula has the right stuff

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José Hernández
Astronaut José Hernández thinks Yucatán would be a great location for space tourism. Photo: NASA

NASA astronaut José Hernández, whose roots are in Mexico, has endorsed the flat, wide open Yucatán Peninsula as center for space tourism.

“The Yucatan peninsula would be a great place to build and attract industry and lay the foundation for space tourism,” Hernandez told the wire service Notimex. The interview also touched on his ambitions to ascend in U.S. politics. Two years ago, Hernandez ran as a Democrat for Congress, but lost to incumbent Republican Jeff Denham to represent the 10th district of San Joaquin Valley of California.

Hernández, 52, predicted that in 20 years, elite travelers will be sent into orbit before returning to their Earthly destinations.

“I see that it will be the basis for travel from one continent to another and in less time that the current is 15 or 18 hours. If you want to travel from United States to London you could do it in a couple of hours…” he said.

“For an entrepreneur to make the journey in two hours, he would pay whatever was necessary,” he said.

The American astronaut owns a consulting business in aerospace topics and advises the Mexican government. Raised in California by a family of migrant farm workers, Hernández achieved his dream as a NASA astronaut when he flew the Space Shuttle Discovery in 2009.

According to the Los Angeles-based Space Tourism Society, at least 20 private companies around the world are investing in what they hope will be a lucrative industry one day. Famous entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson are pushing the concept to reality. They “seem closer to realizing the dream of everyday space tourism than you probably realize,” says the New Republic.

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