Today in 1958 astronaut Dr. Ellen Ocha was born in Los Angeles, California to Mexican immigrant parents. Dr. Ocha made history by becoming the first Latina astronaut (1991) and the first Latina to go to space as a member of a NASA space mission aboard the 1992 shuttle Discovery. This history maker has traveled to space a total of four times conducting research, her focus is “optical inspection systems.”
Dr. Ocha in her space missions held various roles from mission specialist to payload commander. As a testament to her commitment to going to space she applied three times before being accepted into the rigorous and highly competitive NASA astronaut program. She joined NASA in 1988 and has logged nearly 1,000 hours in space.
Dr. Ocha is currently the director of the Johnson Space Center, also known as “Mission Control”. Dr. Ocha continues to make history as the first Latina and first Hispanic to hold that title. This year she will be inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame for her outstanding commitment to space travel.
This Latina pioneer holds a degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University and an undergraduate degree in physics from San Diego University.
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