80 Interesting Facts About Ellen Ochoa

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Ellen Lauri Ochoa (born May 10, 1958 in Los Angeles, California, United States) is an American former astronaut. Ochoa received a bachelor's degree in physics from San Diego State University in 1980 and a master's degree in 1981 and a doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1985. Ochoa spent several years doing research at Sandia National Laboratories and NASA's Ames Research Center.

80 Interesting Facts About Ellen Ochoa

Interesting Facts About Ellen Ochoa

  • Ellen Ochoa is married and has two children.
  • Ellen Ochoa is married to her husband Coe Miles.
  • Ellen Ochoa earned her Master of Science degree in 1983.
  • Ellen Ochoa was the daughter of Joseph Ochoa and Rosanne Ochoa.
  • Ellen Ochoa and Coe Miles have two children together, both are sons.
  • This was a project allowing human exploration of far destinations like Mars.
  • The STS-66 mission was a Space Shuttle mission via the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
  • Ellen Ochoa was born on Saturday, May 10th, 1958 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
  • In 1990 Ellen Ochoa was selected by NASA to be an astronaut and became one in 1991.
  • Ochoa retired from the center early in 2019, completing a 30-year career with NASA.
  • During these missions, Ochoa logged nearly 1,000 hours of more than 40 days in space.
  • Ochoa has spent a total of almost 1,000 hours in space aboard four different missions.
  • Ochoa returned to the ISS in April 2002 on the STS-110 mission of the shuttle Atlantis.
  • Ellen Ochoa was a part of four spaceflight missions, STS-56, STS-66, STS-96 and STS-110.
  • Her crew also released the SPARTAN satellite, which studied the solar wind for two days.
  • Ellen Ochoa was 1 of 23 people selected to join NASA in the 1990 NASA Astronaut Group 13.
  • Ellen Ochoa patented an optical system that was capable of detecting issues in repeating patterns.

Amazing Facts About Ellen Ochoa

  • Ellen Lauri Ochoa was born on May 10, 1958 in Los Angeles, California, to Joseph and Rosanne Ochoa.
  • Ellen Ochoa was an American astronaut with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
  • Many other awards were presented after her illustrious career, and she had six schools named for her.
  • Ellen Ochoa graduated from San Diego State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics.
  • She then applied to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to enter its astronaut program.
  • The STS-56 mission was a Space Shuttle mission to perform special experiments via the Space Shuttle Discovery.
  • She also chaired the committee that evaluates nominations for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
  • There are four schools named after her -- two in her home state of California, one in Texas and one in Washington.
  • Her task was to lift the station’s robotic arm to truss out of Atlantis’s payload bay and attach it to the station.
  • Ellen Ochoa is best known for being the first Hispanic woman to go into outer space via the Space Shuttle Discovery.
  • After her last space mission, Ellen moved on to working on space exploration from Earth at the Johnson Space Center.
  • She received a bachelor of science degree in physics from San Diego State University and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1980.
  • She then earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering at Stanford University in 1981 and eventually her doctorate in 1985.

Scientific Facts About Ellen Ochoa

  • During her tenure, she oversaw work on the Orion spacecraft, which was scheduled to travel farther than other crewed spacecraft.
  • Ellen Ochoa co-invented an optical inspection system, a method for removing noise from images, and an optical recognition method.
  • In 1993 Ellen traveled to space for a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery and became the first Hispanic woman in space.
  • She then became the Director of the Johnson Space Center. She was the JSC’s first Hispanic director, and its second female director.
  • Ochoa is currently serving as a trustee on their board and sits on the National Science Board to her alma mater, Stanford, until 2022.
  • Before she became an astronaut, Ochoa was a researcher at the Energy Department’s Sandia National Lab and the NASA Ames Research Center.
  • From 2002 to 2012, Dr. Ellen Ochoa served as the Deputy Director of Flight Crew Operations at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
  • Her next spaceflight was aboard STS-66 Atlantis mission in November, 1994. This time, she used the robotic arm to retrieve a research satellite.
  • She is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
  • She assisted two astronauts on an eight-hour space walk to install cranes attached to the station exterior to be used in building the rest of the station.
  • In May 1999, she was part of the Discovery STS-96 crew that executed the first docking to the International Space Station (ISS) to get it ready for astronauts.
  • Ochoa eventually retired from the Johnson Space Center in 2018 and became vice chair of the National Science Board, which runs the National Science Foundation.

Historical Facts About Ellen Ochoa

  • In April 1993, Ochoa served as mission specialist aboard the STS-56 mission of the space shuttle Discovery. She became the first Latina to be launched into space.
  • Besides her interest in the scientific field, she also plays volleyball, is a classical flutist and was a Student Soloist Awardee of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra.
  • In addition to her own doctorate, Dr. Ochoa received honorary awards from the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
  • Ochoa applied to be an astronaut three times before being accepted by NASA in 1990. In between applications, she got her pilot’s license and continued her research in optics.
  • While working at the NASA Ames Research Center Ellen Ochoa supervised a large group of engineer scientists who worked on developing computational systems for aerospace missions.
  • On this mission, the crew studied solar and atmospheric conditions. Dr. Ochoa controlled the Remote Manipulator System or giant robot arm that launched and caught the satellite.
  • Later, she patented an optical system to detect imperfections in a repeating pattern and for the recognition of objects and was a co-inventor on three patents for an optical inspection system.
  • Ochoa was also recognized with the Distinguished Service Medal, NASA’s highest award. Further, she received the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award for senior executives in the federal government.
  • Though she went through the application process to become an astronaut, Ochoa conducted research in optical information systems and looked for ways to use lasers, holograms, and similar devices to process images.
  • She is a classically trained flutist and thought she would pursue a music major in college. While studying for her doctorate in electrical engineering, she received the student soloist award from the Stanford Symphony Orchestra.
  • Ellen Ochoa applied for the NASA Astronaut Program in 1985 and 1987 but was not admitted. Eventually, she was selected in 1990 to participate and became the first Hispanic female astronaut when she completed her training in 1991.
  • In the Astronaut Office Ellen served as the crew rep for flight software, robotics, and computer hardware. She was also lead spacecraft communicator in Mission Control, Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office, and the assistant for Space Station to the Astronaut Office's Chief.

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