Ellen Ochoa: Early Reader Edition

by Naomi Gledhill from MY HERO Staff

152913Ellen Ochoa in a blue flight suit.Wikimedia CommonsEllen Ochoa was born in Los Angeles, California, on May 10, 1958. Her father’s parents moved to the United States of America from Mexico, making Ellen half Mexican. When she was young, Ellen enjoyed learning about math and science. She particularly enjoyed physics and engineering, which is about learning how things in the world work and how to create new things. After school, she went to San Diego State University and earned a degree in Physics. She then did a master’s degree in science, and a doctorate degree in electrical engineering.

In 1985, Ellen decided that she wanted to become an astronaut and fly to space. She applied to NASA, and they looked at her application two years later in 1987. NASA asked Ellen to visit for an interview, but they decided she was not quite ready to become an astronaut. However, Ellen did not give up.

Ellen kept working on her application. She took pilot lessons and got her pilot license in 1990, meaning she could fly a plane! She applied to NASA again, hoping that her application was better this time around. In 1990, NASA agreed that Ellen was ready to become a pilot.

By 1991, Ellen was working at NASA. Then, in 1993, she went on her first space flight in the Space Shuttle Discovery. She was the first ever Hispanic woman to go to space. During her time working for NASA, Ellen went to space four times. She spent nearly 1,000 hours in space!

152914The flight crew for Space Shuttle Discovery.Wikimedia CommonsEllen has been given lots of awards for her work as an astronaut. She got a Space Flight Medal for each time she went to space. She got one in 1993, one in 1994, one in 1999 and another one in 2002. In 1995 she was given the Outstanding Leadership Medal for being a great leader. In 1997, NASA awarded Ellen the Exceptional Service Medal, which meant she did great work. Some years later, in 2015, NASA gave Ellen the Distinguished Service Medal, which meant she was one of the very best at NASA.

In 2007, Ellen stopped working as an astronaut. Instead, she took the role of Deputy Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. This meant she helped to run the entire center.

In 2017, Ellen was put in the United States Astronauts Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is a list of American astronauts that have worked very hard and done amazing things. Only one year later, in 2018, Ellen was added to the International Air and Space Hall of Fame, which includes people from all over the world.

As well as science, Ellen has a love for music and plays the flute. She performed with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra whilst she studied. She even took her flute with her to space!

152915Ellen playing her flute on the flight deck.Wikimedia CommonsEllen Ochoa was the first ever Hispanic woman to fly to space, which meant that more Hispanic women were allowed to work for NASA after Ellen. She loves science and engineering and proves that anything is possible when you work hard and keep trying your best.

To read a more advanced-level story about Ellen Ochoa, click here.

Page created on 10/11/2023 7:12:00 PM

Last edited 10/15/2023 12:21:17 PM

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