First Hispanic Female Astronaut & Director of NASA JSC
In 2012 Dr. Ellen Ochoa became the current and 11th Director of NASA Johnson Space Center, 2nd female and 1st Hispanic.
She served as Deputy Director from September 2007 until 2012.
Dr. Ellen Ochoa was born on
May 10, 1958 in Los Angeles, CA, but considers Las Mesa, California
to be her hometown. She received her bachelor of science degree
in physics from San Diego State University, and a master of
science degree and doctorate in electrical engineering from
Stanford University. Dr. Ochoa has worked throughout her career
with optical systems and is a co-inventor on three patents
relating to optical systems. She was the Chief of Intelligent
Systems Technology at the Ames Research Center and supervised
35 engineers and scientists.
Dr. Ellen Ochoa was the first
Hispanic woman to become an Astronaut. Sally Ride, the first
woman Astronaut in the United States, was one of her role
models. Ochoa is not only an Astronaut but also an inventor,
holding three patents.
Selected by NASA in January
1990, Dr. Ochoa is a veteran of four space flights (STS-56,
STS-66, STS-96, STS-110). She first flew in space on the shuttle
Discovery in 1993. She has logged 978 hours in space. Her
most recent mission was aboard the space shuttle Atlantis
in April, 2002. This was an 11-day mission that visited the
International Space Station. Dr. Ellen Ochoa operated the
Station's robotic arm to maneuver spacewalkers around the
Station. This marked the first time that the Station's robotic
arm was used to maneuver space walker around the Station.
In 2002, she became Deputy Director of Flight Crew Operations,
and in 2006 she was named Director of Flight Crew Operation
Dr. Ochoa earned a bachelor's degree in physics from San Diego State University and a master's degree and doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
In 2015, Dr. Ellen Ochoa was inducted into the California Hall of Fame and was named the Hispanic Female Executive of the Year by the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
She has four schools named after her: Ellen Ochoa Middle School in Pasco, Washington; Ellen Ochoa Elementary School in Cudahy, CA; Animo Ellen Ochoa Charter Middle School in East LA, CA; and Ellen Ochoa STEM Academy at Ben Milam Elementary School in Grand Prairie, Texas.
She has received honorary doctor of science degrees from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (2003) and Penn State (2015)
She is the winner of the Society's 2016 Space Pioneer Award for Non-Legislative Government Service
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