SDSU, Grossmont alumna to be inducted into U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame

Ochoa was first Hispanic woman to go to space
SDSU grad to join U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame
SDSU grad to join U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame
Posted at 5:45 PM, Feb 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-15 21:01:59-05

TITUSVILLE, Fla. - A San Diego State University alumna is the latest astronaut to be inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Ellen Ochoa, who grew up in La Mesa and earned her Bachelors of Science in physics from SDSU, was named to the 2017 class of inductees. Ochoa will join Michael Foale, known as the first British astronaut to walk in space, as the latest inductees on May 19.

"It's a special honor to be recognized by fellow astronauts," Ochoa tweeted Tuesday.

Ochoa is currently the director of the Johnson Space Center, the first Hispanic director and second female director of the center, and was the first Hispanic woman to go to space. She is a member of the National Science Board and chairs the Nomination Evaluation Committee for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Ochoa became an astronaut in 1991, serving on four space shuttle flights as a mission specialist during her career and as a payload commander on her final mission.

She is also the co-inventor of three patents and author of several technical papers.

Born in Los Angeles, "but considers La Mesa, Calif., to be her hometown," Ochoa graduated from Grossmont High School, in El Cajon, before attending SDSU.

Among her numerous honors, she has been named to the California Hall of Fame, was named San Diego State University Alumna of the Year in 1995, and has received NASA's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal.


Mark Saunders is a KGTV digital producer. Follow him on Twitter at @10NewsSaunders.