Ellen Ochoa

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NAME: Ellen Ochoa (Ph.D)

NASA Astronaut


PERSONAL DATA: Born May 10, 1958 in Los Angeles , California , but considers La Mesa , California , to be her hometown. Married to Coe Fulmer Miles of Molalla , Oregon . They have one son. She is a classical flutist and private pilot, and also enjoys volleyball and bicycling. Her mother, Rosanne Ochoa, resides in La Mesa . His parents, Louis and Georgia Zak, reside in Waldport , Oregon .


EDUCATION: Graduated from Grossmont High School , La Mesa , California , in 1975; received a bachelor of science degree in physics from San Diego State University in 1980, a master of science degree and doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1981 and 1985, respectively.


ORGANIZATIONS: Member of the Optical Society of America (OSA), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi honor societies.


SPECIAL HONORS: NASA awards include the Exceptional Service Medal (1997), Outstanding Leadership Medal (1995), Space Flight Medals (1999, 1994, 1993), and two Space Act Tech Brief Awards (1992). Recipient of numerous other awards, including the Women in Aerospace Outstanding Achievement Award, The Hispanic Engineer Albert Baez Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution to Humanity, the Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award, and San Diego State University Alumna of the Year. Member of the Presidential Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History.


EXPERIENCE: As a doctoral student at Stanford, and later as a researcher at Sandia National Laboratories and NASA Ames Research Center , Dr. Ochoa investigated optical systems for performing information processing. She is a co-inventor on three patents for an optical inspection system, an optical object recognition method, and a method for noise removal in images. As Chief of the Intelligent Systems Technology Branch at Ames , she supervised 35 engineers and scientists in the research and development of computational systems for aerospace missions. Dr. Ochoa has presented numerous papers at technical conferences and in scientific journals. Selected by NASA in January 1990, Dr. Ochoa became an astronaut in July 1991. Her technical assignments to date include flight software verification, crew representative for flight software and computer hardware development, crew representative for robotics development, testing, and training, Assistant for Space Station to the Chief of the Astronaut Office, directing crew involvement in the development and operation of the Station, and spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) in Mission Control. A veteran of three space flights, Dr. Ochoa has logged over 719 hours in space. She was a mission specialist on STS-56 in 1993, was the Payload Commander on STS-66 in 1994, and was a mission specialist and flight engineer on STS-96 in 1999.

STS-56 ATLAS-2 Discovery (April 4-17, 1993) was a 9-day mission during which the crew conducted atmospheric and solar studies in order to better understand the effect of solar activity on the Earth's climate and environment. Dr. Ochoa used the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) to deploy and capture the Spartan satellite, which studied the solar corona. Dr. Ochoa was the Payload Commander on the STS-66 Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-3 mission (November 3-14, 1994). ATLAS-3 continued the series of Spacelab flights to study the energy of the Sun during an 11-year solar cycle and to learn how changes in the sun's irradiance affect the Earth's climate and environment. Dr. Ochoa used the RMS to retrieve the CRISTA-SPAS atmospheric research satellite at the end of its 8-day free flight.

STS-96 Discovery (May 27 to June 6, 1999) was a 10-day mission during which the crew performed the first docking to the International Space Station, and delivered 4 tons of logistics and supplies in preparation for the arrival of the first crew to live on the station early next year. Dr. Ochoa coordinated the transfer of supplies and also operated the RMS during the 8-hour space walk. The mission was accomplished in 153 Earth orbits, traveling 4 million miles in 235 hours and 13 minutes.


JUNE 1999