"Launches, Landing and Learning: My Career at NASA"
In her keynote presentation, Dr. Ellen Ochoa will focus on launches, landings and other spaceflight milestones that have shaped her career and life.
Dr. Ochoa entered graduate school the same year the space shuttle flew for the first time—an event that sparked a lifelong passion for research in space. She ultimately went on to become the first Hispanic woman to go to space, when she served on a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993. A veteran of four space flights, Dr. Ochoa has logged nearly 1,000 hours.
Leading two shuttle missions dedicated to research, and as the space program moved into the International Space Station era, Dr. Ochoa participated in two missions that were part of the assembly of the space station. On the ground, she helped to determine how astronauts would train for, and operate, an international space station.
Currently, Dr. Ochoa’s management roles focus on transitioning NASA’s workforce and facilities at Johnson Space Center from shuttle operations to building and demonstrating capabilities needed for exploration beyond low earth orbit. Prior to her career as an astronaut, Dr. Ochoa was a research engineer and a co-inventor on three patents for an optical inspection system. She currently serves as the Deputy Director of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and has two schools named for her: the Ellen Ochoa Middle School in Pasco, WA, and the Ellen Ochoa Learning Center in Cudahy, CA.