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First Person: First Latina In Space To Be Inducted Into US Astronaut Hall of Fame

Ellen Ochoa, director of NASA's Johnson Space Center, in an undated photo.

Credit: NASA

Above: Ellen Ochoa, director of NASA's Johnson Space Center, in an undated photo.

We're sorry. This audio clip is no longer available. A transcript has been made available.

When Ellen Ochoa was growing up in La Mesa in the 60’s, a career in space exploration did not cross her mind.

“At that time there weren’t women astronauts, they weren’t allowed to apply. And actually you saw very few women at all working at NASA. So, it’s something that at that time I never thought about growing up and doing,” she said.

It was not until she was in graduate school that her interest in joining NASA’s astronaut program grew.

In 1993, Ochoa became the first Latina to travel to space. She was part of a 90-day space mission to study the Earth’s atmosphere aboard the space shuttle Discovery. As an astronaut, Ochoa has flown on four space missions, logging almost 1,000 hours in orbit.

This month, Ochoa will be inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

As part of our First Person series, Ochoa, who now serves as the first woman director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center and is a classical flautist, talks about her passion for space exploration.

Special Feature First Person

KPBS Midday Edition's First Person series tells the stories of average and not-so-average San Diegans in their own words. Their experiences, both universal and deeply personal, offer a unique lens into the news of the day.


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