Outer Space is the Limit !

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September 26, 2012 by emagallanes1

Would you be satisfied with life after you’ve spent more than 940 hours of your life in outer space? Well, one could only imagine the satisfaction that Ellen Ochoa feels at this point of her life.

Ellen Ochoa was born on May 10th, 1958 in Los Angeles, California with Mexican roots. Although she admits to not speaking very much Spanish at home, she does wish that her parents would’ve incorporated more Spanish in their household. Therefore, she did not practice many of the Mexican rituals, but she still felt Mexican in the inside. When Ellen was eleven years old, Neil Armstrong took his first walk on the moon. Little did Ellen Ochoa know that she would one day too, experience what he was experiencing.

After graduating from Grossmont High School in La Mesa, California as the valedictorian of her class, she pursued a Bachelor’s degree in physics from San Diego State University. Later on with her mother’s encouragement on education, she went to graduate school in Stanford University. At Stanford, is where Ellen Ochoa started to contribute to American society. As a co inventor at Stanford University, Ellen won patents for three different optical devices. These systems now allowed scientists to both identify and recognize objects in space. She also won a patent for creating a system that minimizes the distortion of images taken of objects. Ochoa also deployed satellites such as the ATLAS -2 and -3 on shuttle expeditions,which made it easier to study the Sun’s effects on Earth’s climate.

Ellen Ochoa impressed NASA with all of her hard work and her specialization in optics and computer hardware. In 1990, NASA accepted Ellen into its training program. Only a year later, Ellen Ochoa became the first Hispanic female astronaut, which is her major accomplishment. So far, Ellen Ochoa has been on four space flights. Now a veteran, Ochoa still conducts research on the damage to the ozone layer.

I found out about Ellen Ochoa in sixth grade when my science teacher assigned us a project in which we had to research a significant scientist in history. At eleven years old, I was attracted to Ellen Ochoa because she was a successful Hispanic woman who has made history. But of course, I don’t remember much from that project. I do admit, that it feels good to be reminded of these individuals who are not only successful, but Hispanic as well.

It was not difficult at all to find information on Ellen Ochoa. I think this is mainly because she won so many prestigious awards(such as NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal,the Harvard Foundation Science Award, the Hispanic Heritage Leader Award, and many more) , that her name is mentioned all over the internet.


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