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FOR AGES 3 YEARS TO 18 YEARS
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Do you know the first woman of the Hispanic culture who went to space?
Her name is Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman to visit the space station aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Ellen Ochoa was also a member of the National Science Board and served as the Vice-Chair between 2018 and 2020.
Ellen Ochoa is one of the best-known American space engineers who turned 63 years old in 2021. She’s the former director of the Johnson Space Center as well as a well-known astronaut.
Born on May 10, 1958, Ellen Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman to travel in space. She went to space for the first time in 1993, when she was 34 years old. She was a part of a mission that was nine days long in the Space Shuttle Discovery. When the former director of the Johnson Space Center, Michael Coats, retired in the year 2012, Ochoa became the director. She was also the first Hispanic director and second female director of the Space Center.
When Ellen Ochoa was in the fifth grade, she aspired to become the president. However, till the end of school, she had not figured out that she wanted to become an astronaut. She said in an interview that one never knows how their interests change.
Therefore, she suggests the younger generations, never shut down their options and never stop looking for a change. In college, she changed her major subject five times. When she began college, she was interested in music and business studies. But, she graduated with flying colors and a degree in physics, when she learned about the skills that NASA was searching for in people who potentially aspired to become astronauts, she thought that it is what she wanted.
Ellen passed out of school in 1975. Her school was Grossmont High School situated in El Cajon. When Ochoa was in high school, her parents divorced. Since then, she started living with her mother and brothers.
Ochoa completed her graduation from San Diego State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics. Later, she bagged a Master of Science degree from the Stanford Department of Electrical Engineering in 1981. She also completed her doctorate from the same college in 1985.
During her time at Stanford as a doctoral student and also in the Sandia National Laboratories as a researcher, Ellen worked on optical systems and investigated them in order to perform information processing.
She was also the research leader of the group that worked for automated space exploration basically on optical systems.
In January 1990, Ellen’s selection was finalized by NASA. Later, in 1991, she became an astronaut after completing her training at NASA. She worked on various assignments related to the technical field. She was the crew representative in-flight software, robotics, and hardware. She worked as an assistant, and later on as the deputy chief of the Astronaut Office. She led “CAPCOM” in Mission Control which was a spacecraft communicator.
As of now, Ochoa has spent more than 1,000 hours in space. She was appointed as the mission specialist in 1993 on STS-56 and also as the payload commander on STS-66. Ellen was the flight engineer as well as the mission specialist on STS-96 and STS-110 in 2002.
Ellen Ochoa retired from spacecraft operations in 2007, she worked in the Johnson Space Center as the deputy director and also helped in the management of the Aircraft Operations and the Astronaut Office. In January 2013, she was appointed as the director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
Ellen Ochoa was born as Ellen Lauri Ochoa in Los Angeles, California. Her father was Joseph Ochoa and her mother was Rosanne Ochoa. Ellen’s paternal grandparents were immigrants from Sonora, Mexico.
They had moved to Arizona and later to California where her grandmother gave birth to her father. Since then, her family resided in California. She spent her childhood specifically in La Mesa, California.
Ochoa’s Hispanic roots have come from her father. Her grandparents were Mexican and her father was one of their 12 children.
Ochoa married Coe Miles, who was an intellectual property attorney. Presently, they have two sons. Ellen worked with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, as a classical flutist. She also played the flute for two years in the San Diego State University marching band and for another five years as a part of the university wind ensemble. She also took a flute with her when she went on her first mission to space.
The Ochoa Middle School situated in Pasco, Washington as well as the Ánimo Ellen Ochoa Charter Middle School in East Los Angeles and also the Ellen Ochoa Elementary School in Cudahy, CA has been named as an honor towards Ellen Ochoa.
In April 2002, along with Ochoa in the Shuttle Atlantis, a rocket logo flag flew. The flag had the logo of Ochoa Middle School at Pasco in Washington. It was aboard for an 11-day long mission to the International Space Station. The flag was returned to the school by Ochoa on her visit to the school at the 2002 dedication as a chief guest. Since then, the flag is displayed permanently at the school.
Ochoa has been honored with numerous awards. In 2017, Ochoa and Michael Foale were honored with the announcement of them as the 2017 class of the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame.
Today, Ochoa is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics as well as of the National Academy of Inventors.
In the 2019 episode of the kid's television program, Ready Jet Go!, Ellen Ochoa’s animated version was featured. The name of the episode was 'Astronaut Ellen Ochoa'.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Ellen Ochoa facts then why not take a look at Antoninus Pius facts, or Antonio Banderas facts.
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