A Million Miles Away Ending, Explained: Does Jose Become an Astronaut?

Image Credit: Daniel Daza/Prime

Prime Video’s ‘A Million Miles Away’ stars Michael Peña in the role of Jose Hernandez, who went through an arduous journey to achieve his dream. The film focuses on the real-life story of Hernandez, beginning from his childhood, when he finds his dream of becoming an astronaut, and into adulthood, when he works tirelessly to make that dream a reality. The movie stays close to reality and explores different chapters of his life, mainly focusing on the relationship with his family, who supported him throughout his journey and sacrificed their own dreams so that he could have his. What does it take to finally get him there? SPOILERS AHEAD

A Million Miles Away Plot Synopsis

‘A Million Miles Away’ starts from the beginning, as we meet a young Jose and his family, leaving their home in Mexico to go to America to find a better life. They work in the fields, picking fruits and vegetables, often grapes. For several months, they stay in Stockton, where Jose goes to school, while also helping his family in the fields. He exhibits a knack for maths and science, which is noticed by his teacher, Ms. Young.

Image Credit: Daniel Daza/Prime

She encourages Jose to work harder and ask questions to entertain his curiosity, but the constant movement of his family hinders his education. Eventually, Ms. Young talks to Jose’s family and advises them to settle down in Stockton. The more they move around, the more impact it will have on their children’s education. She sees Jose as a promising young man who will go on to do great things in his life, and she doesn’t want his potential to go to waste.

After some thought, Jose’s family decides to settle in America. Jose’s father has to give up on his dream of having a house back in Mexico, and while he seems to hold it over Jose, he still gives up on his dream so that his children can have a better life. The stability allows Jose to focus on his academics, and he graduates from school to study engineering and become an engineer in a federally funded facility. His new job makes everyone around him proud because he has done what they all wanted to do. He has left behind life on the fields and made something better of himself.

While Jose is glad to have the new job, he still has a lot of hurdles ahead. He is underestimated and ignored from the first day on the job when nobody seems to care about his ideas and opinions. He is limited to copying documents on the copier machine rather than being put on a project where his time and energy will mean something. On top of this, the secretary mistakes him for being a janitor and hands him the keys to all the rooms. Still, Jose is not discouraged. He finds a way to turn it in his favor and applies for NASA’s space program on the side. But success is still a long way from him.

A Million Miles Away Ending: Jose Hernandez Makes His Dreams Come True

Image Credit: Daniel Daza/Prime

As Jose starts applying for the space program and gets one rejection after another, he is not discouraged. He works harder at his job and keeps applying for the program. In the meantime, he meets Adela, with whom he falls in love. When he asks what her dream is, she reveals she wants to be a chef and have her own restaurant. When she asks what his dream is, he says he wants to be an astronaut. At first, she laughs, but then she realizes he is serious and applauds him for dreaming big.

Adela doesn’t realize Jose’s true determination until years later. By that time, they are married and already have two kids with another on the way. Jose doesn’t tell her he has been applying for the space program for years. She finds out about it when she discovers the rejection letters. She feels terrible that her husband couldn’t trust her enough to share this dream with her. Eventually, they set aside their differences, and Adela asks Jose why he was rejected and others were accepted in his place. What did they have that he didn’t?

As Jose ponders this question, he realizes that there is much more to being an astronaut than just being a great engineer. The ones who apply for the program have other things they are great at. Many of them can fly a plane, have hours and hours worth of scuba diving experience, are in great physical shape, and often know other languages. Realizing he’d been lacking all this, Jose decides to rectify the situation. Adela says they should use the savings to get him into all these courses.

Image Credit: Daniel Daza/Prime

Over time, Jose learns to fly and scuba dive. He starts running marathons and learns to speak Russian. When the opportunity presents itself, he goes to Siberia, hoping that the experience would reflect well on his application. In between this, he also misses the birth of his child. By now, he has been rejected eleven times, and when the time comes to apply again, Adela suggests a different approach. She thinks he shouldn’t mail his application but rather go there in person. Jose takes her advice, and soon, the acceptance letter arrives.

While Jose gets accepted for the program, it still doesn’t guarantee that he will be sent to space. He has learned a lot of things on his own, but now, he has to push himself even further. He has to be much better at everything, and sometimes, the pressure of doing all that catches up to him. He starts to lag behind in several things and misses his family, with whom he feels completely out of touch. Jose asks Kalpana Chawla, a scientist assisting with the training course and who’d been to space before if having that distance from the family was worth it. She assures him that it was.

With time, Jose gets better and is noticed by his superiors for being a team player who isn’t just focused on his own success but helps others around him, too. As Jose gets more confident, a tragedy strikes. The space shuttle Columbia crashes during re-entry to Earth, and all the astronauts aboard, including Chawla, die. This puts a huge question mark on whether another shuttle will be sent to space if it’s not considered safe enough. Even Jose starts to wonder if the gamble is worth it. What would happen to his family if something like that happened to him?

Image Credit: Daniel Daza/Prime

Any doubts he might have had are washed away when Jose discovers that NASA will continue sending shuttles to space, and he is chosen for the next ride. Not only that, but he will serve as number two to Sturckow, who will lead the mission. Before saying yes to the mission, Jose says he needs to consult with his wife. If she doesn’t give her the green light, he will not go. When he breaks the news to Adela, she is happy for him and doesn’t even think about saying no.

As the launch day comes near, Jose and Adela become anxious but find comfort in talking about it with one another. His entire family, including his teacher, Ms. Young, is invited to watch the launch, and everyone watches with bated breaths as the shuttle leaves the Earth. The launch is a success, and Jose finally finds himself in space. He looks out the window and sees the Earth, remembering what Chawla told him about the view. He smiles because, after all the hard work, sacrifices, loss, and pain, he has finally achieved the dream he set out to accomplish when he was a ten-year-old boy.

Read More: Is A Million Miles Away Based on a True Story?