José in Space: Boricua Astronaut Joe Acabá's NASA Mission

Puerto Ricans are a migrating people. Now after endless waves of migration, Boricuas and descendants are found in every U.S. state as well as in countries across the globe. This week, one of our own even migrates (albeit, temporarily) to space.

Yes, a Boricua. In Space. This week. (A migrant today, a colony tomorrow. It's our way.)

If all goes as expected, Thursday (3.12.09) Jose becomes the first American astronaut of Puerto Rican heritage to blast-off into space.

Actually, he's Joseph Michael Acabá, teacher, hydrogeologist, and NASA astronaut who was born in Southern, California to Ralph and Elsie Acabá, from Hatillo, Puerto Rico.

In May 2004, José--I mean Joe--became the first Puerto Rican named as a NASA astronaut candidate when he was selected as a member of NASA Astronaut Training Group 19. He completed his training on February 10, 2006 and assigned to STS-119, which is set to launch on March 12, 2009 to deliver the final set of solar arrays to the International Space Station.

Congratulations to Joe and the rest of STS-119 crew. May your flight be a safe and successful one.

BTW: Who's the next Boricua in space? Perhaps Guayama's own Lisha Roubert-Rodriguez.