He is known across the world for his accomplishments.
— Not only did he make it into space aboard two NASA shuttle missions…
He made it into the history books…
His story begins…in Albuquerque, New Mexico…
And Crystal Gutierrez tells us his journey is far from over.
” I remember one individual who told me you know you’re never going to be an astronaut
And I said why. And he said you know they’re never going to pick a kid from New Mexico”
Said Sidney McNeill Gutierrez, Retired Air Force Colonel..
To the world…NASA astronaut.
“I am the first U.S Born/Hispanic astronaut”
A reporter asks: Did you ever think that title was going to be bestowed upon you?
“I always wanted to be an astronaut.”
Sid…accomplished his first goal…making it into The Air Force Academy.
First flying the f-15…and becoming a pilot instructor, then becoming a test pilot for f-16s.
But he wasn’t done yet. He applied with NASA and you guessed it– he got the call…
“I think I was 32. – 32 years old getting a call from NASA, saying come on down?
The first person he called —
His wife Marianne..
“I thought if anybody could – he could, he’s a really motivated person,” Marianne said.
In 1991…the first U-S Born Hispanic Astronaut — would head into space aboard Shuttle Columbia.
With the tragedy of The Challenger fresh on their minds.
Sid suited up…Boarded the shuttle…And lifted off.
“You saw it going up, but feeling those shockwaves in your chest, made you realize that they’re really going into space “
In 1994 – Sid became the first Hispanic to command any space mission – including Russian missions.
“I never saw it as being a Hispanic astronaut, I always wanted to just be an American astronaut,” he said.
Sid is not done exploring yet. He owns…and runs a rocket company based in Florida…as he works to keep space exploration going.
But — he doesn’t live in Florida. After retirement – he moved back to Albuquerque’s north valley…just down the street from his childhood home