Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month: Sid Gutierrez

First U.S. Born Hispanic Astronaut and First Hispanic Space Mission Commander

We are proud to profile the accomplishments of former NASA Astronaut and Vaya Space Chairman of the Board Sid Gutierrez. Growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Sid knew by the fifth grade that he wanted to be an astronaut. He began his journey with selection to the U.S. Air Force Academy, before earning his wings, becoming a test pilot, and later being selected by NASA for the astronaut program, logging more than 488 hours (or about 3 weeks) in space.



His first space flight was as the pilot of Space Shuttle Columbia during the STS-40 mission in 1991. The nine-day mission carried the Spacelab Life Sciences module dedicated solely for biology experiments.

His second space flight was aboard Space Shuttle Endeavor in April of 1994, as the Mission Commander of STS-59. This eleven-day mission’s primary payload was the Space Radar Laboratory which took about 14 thousand photographs of earth for scientific investigation of ecology, oceanography, hydrology, and geology.





Sid Gutierrez has received many accolades and awards. From NASA, he received the Outstanding Leadership Medal and the Exceptional Achievement Medal. In 1995, he was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame.

In 1990, he received the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Award. In 1992 Hispanic Engineer magazine awarded Gutierrez the Engineer of the Year National Achievement Award. In 1994 he was selected by Hispanic Business magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics, and Hispanic Magazine awarded him the Hispanic Achievement Award in Science in 1995.

In 2012, Sid joined Rocket Crafters, now Vaya Space, as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. He has been an integral part of our team, the motivation behind many of the actions of Vaya Space, and even inspired our name.

“I tell them don’t let people limit you from doing what you want to do because you’re a boy, you’re a girl, you’re Hispanic or you’re from New Mexico; whatever it is.” Sidney Gutierrez

Thank you Sid, for your life of service, inspiration, and leadership!