John Bennett Herrington
|Occupation(s)||U.S. naval pilot, test pilot|
Time in space
|13d 18h 47m|
|Selection||1996 NASA Group|
John Bennett Herrington (born September 14, 1958, in Chickasaw Nation) is a retired United States Naval Aviator, engineer and former NASA astronaut. In 2002, Herrington became the first enrolled member of a Native American tribe to fly in space.[note 1]
Herrington was born in Wetumka, Oklahoma, into the Chickasaw Nation. He grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Riverton, Wyoming, and Plano, Texas, where he graduated from Plano Senior High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs before receiving his commission in the United States Navy in 1984. To honor his Chickasaw heritage, Herrington, an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation, carried its flag on his thirteen-day trip to space. The flag had been presented to him by Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby.
Selected by NASA in April 1996, Herrington reported to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in August 1996. He completed two years of training and evaluation, and qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. Herrington was assigned to the Flight Support Branch of the Astronaut Office where he served as a member of the Astronaut Support Personnel team responsible for Shuttle launch preparations and post-landing operations.
Main article: STS-113
Herrington was selected as a mission specialist for STS-113, the sixteenth Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station. Endeavour was launched from Kennedy Space Center on November 23, 2002, to deliver the P1 Truss segment, which provides structural support for the Space Station radiators. Endeavour also delivered a new Expedition 6 crew to the Station, returning to Earth on December 7, 2002, with the Expedition 5 crew ending their 6-month stay in space. The total mission duration was 13 days, 18 hours and 47 minutes.
During the mission Herrington performed three spacewalks, totaling 19 hours and 55 minutes. These spacewalks are commemorated on the reverse of the 2019 Sacagawea dollar coin.
In July 2004, Herrington served as the commander of the NEEMO 6 mission aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory, living and working underwater for ten days.
Herrington retired from the Navy and NASA in July 2005.
In September 2005, Herrington resigned from NASA to become Vice President/Director of flight Operations for Rocketplane Limited, Inc., where he replaced Mitchell Burnside Clapp. He was also to serve as the pilot of the XP Spaceplane. Herrington also provides part-time support for the Center for Space Studies at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
In December 2007, Herrington resigned from Rocketplane, and stated that he plans to continue doing public speaking engagements as well as work with the Chickasaw Nation.
In 2008, Herrington embarked on a cross-country bicycle ride through the United States from Cape Flattery, Washington to Cape Canaveral, Florida. The ride took three months, from August 13 to November 15, 2008.
Herrington was inducted into the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2002. He earned his PhD in education from the University of Idaho in 2014  In 2017, Herrington was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. In 2018, he became one of the inductees in the first induction ceremony held by the National Native American Hall of Fame.
In 2016 Herrington authored a children's book called Mission to Space published by White Dog Press, a secondary imprint of Chickasaw Press. In the book, Herrington shares his passion for space travel and provides a glimpse into his astronaut training and mission to the International Space Station. The book includes an English to Chickasaw vocabulary list with space-related terms.
Herrington currently travels the nation speaking to students, educators, nonprofits and corporations on an array of topics originating from his unique background in STEM and aviation. He is managed by Key Speakers Bureau.