Ellen Ochoa

by Carla from Longmont

Ellen in her space suit
Ellen in her space suit

Ellen Ochoa is a hero for many women. She was born on May 10, 1958. She is half Mexican. Ellen Ochoa is a hero because she was the first Hispanic woman astronaut; she was a groundbreaker, and she is admirable.

On April 8, 1993, Ellen became the first Hispanic woman to fly into space. Ellen and four other male astronauts were aboard the space shuttle Discovery. On November 3,1994, Ellen made a second fight into space on the space shuttle Atlantis. Her special job was to use robotic arms and send them into space to catch a small 2,800-pound satellite called "Spartan."

Ellen' s training
Ellen' s training

A groundbreaker, that is what Ellen is. It’s interesting to be an astronaut, but to be the first Hispanic woman astronaut is more interesting. Many women say, “Oh, I’m a girl, what’s the use?” Ellen didn’t believe in that. She did what she wanted to do without thinking about what people said or what background she came from. Being the first one to do something is pretty difficult. Astronauts receive a lot of training and Ellen never gave up, even though some people didn’t believe in her.

Many people admire Ellen Ochoa. When she couldn’t decide what career she wanted, she asked both her physics and her engineering professors. Her engineering teacher told her that engineering was too hard for a girl. Ellen’s physics teacher told her that physics would get her somewhere. Though her engineering teacher told her she was a girl and couldn’t do engineering, she followed her engineering dreams. Ellen gives good examples of telling people that even a girl can be anything she wants to be.

This is Ellen Ochoa's space crew.
This is Ellen Ochoa's space crew.

Ellen is still considered a hero, not just because she is the first Hispanic woman astronaut, not because she is a groundbreaker, not because she is admirable, but because she proved that women can do anything that they want to do. Women have the same opportunities that men have. All you have to do is follow your dreams whether you are a female or a male.

Related Links

Ellen Ochoa - First Hispanic Woman in Space
Innovative Lives - A Smithsonian Institute site exploring the history of women inventors, including Ellen Ochoa. This site includes a complete Teacher's Guide.
Scholastic.com - Celebrate Hispanic Heritage: Meet Famous Latinos. Includes a biography of Ellen Ochoa.
Lemelson - MIT Program - Inventor of the Week: Ellen Ochoa - Optical Analysis Systems

Related Books