Astronaut Rockets Across America For Education - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Astronaut Rockets Across America For Education

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YAKIMA, Wash.--Former astronaut John Herrington traveled through the Yakima Valley today on his cross-country bike trip. Herrington, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, became the first Native American to visit space in 2002.

After leaving NASA in 2005, he worked on private space engineering, then moved on to education.  He left Neah Bay, Wash. on Wednesday on his way to Cape Canaveral, Fla.  Herrington said the journey's goal is to get kids interested in math, science, engineering and technology.  Herrington says he wants kids to realize education can be fun.

"I want to raise awareness," he said.  "I'm not looking for money, I'm not looking for financial support for this.  I'm looking for kids to find a practical thing to do that's fun.

Herrington's bike weighs 90 pounds with all his bags attached.  He hopes to arrive in Cape Canaveral by November 10, the day his friend pilots a shuttle into space.  You can keep track of Herrington's trip at his web site,