First Latina in Space Ellen Ochoa to be Inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame

First Latina in Space Ellen Ochoa to be Inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame
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Congratulations to Ellen Ochoa! The first-ever Latina in space will be inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in May.

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“I’m honored to be recognized among generations of astronauts who were at the forefront of exploring our universe for the benefit of humankind,” Ochoa, 58, said. “I hope to continue to inspire our nation’s youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, so they, too, may reach for the stars.”

The mexicana joined NASA as a research engineer at Ames Research Center in 1988. By 1990, she moved onto the Johnson Space Center, where she was selected as an astronaut and made her historic trip to space in 1993.

But her barrier breaking doesn’t stop there. Ochoa is currently the director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, the second woman and first Latina to lead its 13,000 employees.

“Being an astronaut, and part of a team, is really rewarding, and now I have a different perspective,” she said when she first got the position four years ago. “The end goal is still the same – carrying out exciting and challenging mission in space.”

With a track record like that, it's no wonder that Ochoa has garnered several accolades. Among them: the Distinguished Service Medal, NASA's highest honor, and several schools named after her.

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She will accept her latest honor, the induction, on May 19 in Titusville, Florida