Following completion of his first operational tour, Herrington then returned to VP-31 as a Fleet Replacement Squadron Instructor Pilot. While assigned to VP-31 he was selected to attend the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Md. in January 1990. After graduation in December, 1990, he reported to the Force Warfare Aircraft Test Directorate as a project test pilot for the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System.
Herrington conducted additional flight test assignments flying numerous variants of the P-3 Orion as well as the T-34C and the DeHavilland Dash 7. Following his selection as an Aeronautical Engineering Duty Officer, Herrington reported to the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School where he completed a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering in June 1995. Herrington was assigned as a special projects officer to the Bureau of Naval Personnel Sea Duty Component when selected for the astronaut program.
Selected by NASA in April 1996, Herrington reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. He completed two years of training and evaluation, and is 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. Most recently, he flew on STS-113 logging more than 330 hours in space, including 3 extra-vehicular activities (space walks) totaling 19 hours and 55 minutes.
STS-113 Endeavour (Nov. 23-Dec. 7, 2002) was the 16th shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station. Mission accomplishments included the delivery of the Expedition-Six crew, the delivery, installation and activation of the P1 Truss, and the transfer of cargo from Shuttle to the Station.
During the mission Herrington performed three extra-vehicular activities totaling 19 hours and 55 minutes. STS-113 brought home the Expedition-Five crew from their six-month stay aboard the Station. The mission duration was 13 days, 18 hours and 47 minutes.
Herrington, the first tribally registered Native American astronaut, was invited to the Pinon Unified School District by state Sen. Jack Jackson through The World Hope Foundation.
While in Pinon, The World Hope Foundation gave Herrington and Pinon educators and students a preview of their next offering: a portable planetarium presentation of both Greek and traditional Navajo cosmologies. These star stories are being presented at the appropriate time of the year with only the stories and constellations that are appropriate by Dr. David Begay and Dr. Nancy Maryboy.
Commander Herrington said he was excited by what he experienced. Judging by the speed with which the rest of the student body learned about the offering, this culturally relevant educational experience should be most rewarding for the students.
Dorothy R. Yazzie, the Pinon Middle School principal invited Paul Soderman, Executive Director of The World Hope Foundation, to bring this presentation back to her school as quickly as possible.
(John Ball, Assiniboine Sioux, is the Space Science for Seven Generations Program Director of the The World Hope Foundation, based in Boulder, Colo. For additional information, contact The World Hope Foundation at 303-938-8639 or email@example.com.)