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Ellen Ochoa

Courtesy of NASA Johnson Space Center.

(b. 1958)

California Connection

  • Born in Los Angeles, CA; earned Bachelor of Science from San Diego State University; earned Doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University


Biography current as of induction in 2015

Ellen Ochoa is a former astronaut and current Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Prior to her career as an astronaut, she was a research engineer and inventor, and she holds three patents for optical systems for aerospace missions.

Ochoa was accepted into NASA’s astronaut training program in 1990, and in 1993 became the first Latina in space when she served on a nine-day mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery.  She has flown in space four times and has logged nearly 1,000 hours in orbit.

In 2007, she was appointed Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center, helping to manage and direct the Astronaut Office and Aircraft Operations. In January 2013, Ochoa made history again by becoming the first Latina and second female director of the center.


  • NASA Exceptional Service, Distinguished Service, and Outstanding Leadership Medals
  • Harvard Foundation Science Award
  • Women in Aerospace Outstanding Achievement Award
  • Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award
  • President’s Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History

View more inductees from the 9th class, inducted in 2015.