Ellen Ochoa Biography

Name: Ellen Lauri Ochoa.
Birth date: May 10, 1958.
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California.
Breakthrough: 9-day orbit mission aboard space shuttle DISCOVERY.

After reading the Ellen Ochoa biography I was elated to find out how important her contributions were to American space exploration. She is The first Hispanic female astronaut, who is a veteran of 4 space flights and logged over 1,000 hours in space. She presently serves as Flight Crew Operations Director at Johnson Space Center.

Ochoa was born on May 10, 1958 to parents Joseph and Rosanne. Ellen is the middle child of five children. Her father was a retail store manager while her mother was a full-time housemaker.

Though she was born in Los Angeles, she was raised in La Mesa, California and attended Grossmont High School. Her parents divorced while she was in high school. She stayed with her mother and four other siblings.

Ellen went to San Diego State University for her bachelor’s degree and graduated as the class valedictorian in 1980. She went to Stanford University and completed her master’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 1981 and her doctorate degree in 1985.

While doing her doctoral research, Ellen developed and patented an optical inspection technique to detect defects in real-time. Most Ellen Ochoa biographies note that she considered this research her greatest scientific achievement.

In 1985, Ellen moved to Livermore, California and worked at the Sandia National laboratories as a technical staff at the Division of Imaging Technology. She further enhanced her research on optical systems and came up with two more patents during her stay at Sandia.

At some point during the time of her graduate studies, her friends encouraged her to join them to apply at NASA. It was ironic that among her circle of friends who applied, it was only Ellen who made it into space.

Ellen Ochoa started her career at NASA in 1988 and her first assignment was at the Intelligent Systems Technology (IST) Branch of Ames Research Center located in Moffet Field, California.

She started as the technical leader for a team of 8 people researching for space-based robotics. Six months later, she became the chief of the IST branch and was in charge of supervising 35 engineer scientists.

This famous Hispanic woman was chosen to undergo the astronaut program in January 1990 and received her certification as an astronaut in 1991.

On April 8, 1993, Ellen Ochoa made history by becoming the first Hispanic woman to orbit space. It was a 9-day mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery to study Earth’s ozone layer.

In recognition for her achievement, a school in Pasco, Washington and another one in Cudahy, California were named after her.

Ellen was part of three more flights in space as a payload commander STS-66 in 1994, and as a flight engineer and mission specialists on STS-96 Discovery in 1999, and STS-100 Atlantis in 2002.

On top of her numerous awards from NASA, Ellen was also recognized by the Hispanic community several times. She received the National Hispanic Quin-Centennial Commission Pride Award in 1990, Hispanic Magazine’s Achievement Science Award in 1991, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Medallion of Excellence and Role Model Award in 1993.

Aside from being an engineer, researcher and astronaut, Ellen is a licensed private pilot and an accomplished classical flutist. She won the Student Soloist Award in 1983 as part of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra.

She is married to a computer research engineer named Coe Fulmer Miles. Together with their two children, her family now lives in Texas.

Any time I read an Ellen Ochoa biography I become inspired by the accomplishments of this Hispanic woman. It also makes me want to sollow her achievements my own way, no doubt she is a perfect Hispanic role model.

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