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The Extraordinary Story OF Ellen Ochoa

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

Ellen Ochoa is well known for being the first Hispanic woman to travel into space during the year 1993. She was able to log an incredible 1,000 hours over the trajectory of four space missions between 1999 and 2002. Additionally, she served as a director for Johnson Space Center before retiring in 2018.

            Ochoa has a Bachelor of Science in physics from San Diego State University and a Master of Science and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University. After graduation in 1987, she applied to become an astronaut for NASA and was even called in for an interview, although she unfortunately did not make the cut. However, Ochoa was determined. She spent her spare time conducting optic research, and in 1990 when the time came for NASA to hire more astronauts, they called Ochoa in for an interview. It was just one short year later, in 1991, that Ochoa finished her first training to become an astronaut. 

            Ochoa’s first space mission took place on April 8th of 1993. She was the mission specialist aboard the STS-56. The goal of the mission was to preform special experiments. One of those experiments had been collecting data on the energy output from the Sun and the Earth’s middle atmosphere. They wanted to know how these two factors have affected our ozone layer.  

            In November of 1994, Ochoa went on her second space mission where she got to be the Payload Commander aboard STS-66. The mission of STS-66 remained the same as Ochoa’s previous mission: collect data from energy output. This mission lasted ten days with a crew of six people. 

            Ochoa’s third space mission took part aboard the STS-96 where Ochoa regained the title of Mission Specialist. The main mission of STS-96 was to log and resupply for the International Space Station. During this mission, the crew transferred 3,597 pounds of material onto the space station. Additionally, they spent a total of 97 hours and 30 minutes on the space station before closing the hatch. 

            Ochoa’s fourth and final mission was on April 8th, 2002, aboard the STS-110. Ochoa continued the role of Mission Specialist with a crew of six other people. The main mission of STS-110 was to install the S0 Truss. During this mission, four separate space walks occurred, the longest being 7 hours and 48 minutes. 

            After Ochoa’s four space missions, she went on to be the 11th director of the Johnson Space Center before retiring in 2018. Ochoa is now happily living in Idaho with her two sons.  

Isabel Marzullo is a member of Her Campus SBU chapter. Isabel writes pieces surrounding books, mental health, and food. Isabel is a sophomore journalism student and the Opinion Assignment Editor at the Bona Venture. During Isabel's free time, she enjoys photography, reading, and hiking. Isabel picked up photography while in High School and quickly turned it into a hobby. She can be seen reading anything from romance to thriller. Lastly, Isabel enjoys walking on the Allegheny trail with friends along with long walks when she is at home.