Women’s History Month: Ellen Ochoa

10 03 2009

“What everyone in the astronaut corps shares in common is not gender or ethnic background, but motivation, perseverance, and desire–the desire to participate in a voyage of discovery.”

Ellen Ochoa


Claim to fame: the first female Hispanic astronaut (1990)


Her accomplishments: Ochoa held several other technical support positions with NASA, including verifying flight software, working as a crew representative for robotics and serving as a spacecraft communicator. She was also a very talented musician.


She received her bachelor’s degree in physics from San Diego State University in 1975 and attended graduate school at Sanford University. She got her masters in 1981 and her doctorate in 1985.


In addition to being a certified private pilot, Ochoa is listed as a co-inventor of three patents: one for optical inspection system, a second for an optical recognition method and a third for a method to reduce noise in images.


Ochoa became one of 22 candidates to become an astronaut out of an original group of 2,000. She participated in her first space shuttle mission aboard the Discovery in April 1993. By the end of 1999, she had logged almost 720 hours in space.


Her awards include two Space Act Tech Brief Awards in 1992, Space Flight Medals in 1993, 1994 and 1999, an Outstanding Leadership Medal in 1995 and an Exceptional Service Medal in 1997. She also served as a member of the Presidential Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History. Ochoa also speaks frequently to students and teachers about her career and accomplishments.

Source: http://www.gale.cengage.com/free_resources/chh/bio/ochoa_e.htm




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