The Student News Site of Minnechaug Regional High School

The Smoke Signal

The Student News Site of Minnechaug Regional High School

The Smoke Signal

The Student News Site of Minnechaug Regional High School

The Smoke Signal

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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Ellen Ochoa

First Latina in Space

Ellen Ochoa was the first Latina in Space. She’s Mexican-American and was born May 10, 1958. While an active astronaut Ochoa logged almost 1,000 hours in space. She became the first person to play an instrument in space, making history by playing the flute in low-Earth orbit. She is also a co-inventor of an optical inspection system, an optical object recognition method, and a method for noise removal in images. Ochoa won the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 2003, the NASA Space Flight Medal in 2002, and 1999, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 1995, and the NASA Agency Honor Awards. She went on four space missions including STS-56 which made her the first Hispanic woman in space. Ochoa would later go on to be the director of Johnson Space Center from 2013 – 2018. Ochoa received a master’s and doctorate degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from San Diego State University.

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