Ellen Ochoa and Women in Space

This is a busy time of year. In addition to World Space Week, it’s also National Hispanic Heritage Month. To celebrate both, let’s take a look at Ellen Ochoa: The First Hispanic Woman Astronaut by Maritza Romero.

Starting out life as one of five sisters and daughter of a single parent, Ellen Ochoa could have gone in many directions. She chose to go to school and study hard. She majored in electrical engineering  at Stanford University, where she earned her doctorate by studying optical systems. After becoming a pioneer in the field and inventing optical devices used in recognizing images, she went to work for NASA. She became the first female Hispanic astronaut in July 1991. Participating in four space flights, Dr. Ochoa was in space over 978 hours. She currently serves as Deputy Director at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. What an inspiring woman!

If you are interested in learning more, try Ellen Ochoa: The First Hispanic Woman Astronaut or one of the other age-appropriate biographies of Ellen Ochoa:

For other inspiring stories of women astronauts to celebrate World Space Week, be sure to check:

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone
Note: I have to admit I didn’t care for this one on my first reading, somewhat because there are so many women to keep track of. I liked it much better with a second reading.


Roberta Bondar: Canada’s First Woman in Space
by Judy Wearing is about another inspiring woman who worked hard and sacrificed to become an astronaut.

For more information about Hispanic culture and Latino history, I recommend Valerie Petrillo’s A Kid’s Guide to Latino History:  More than 50 Activities.

Be sure to visit National Hispanic Heritage Month Roundup at Books Together Blog.


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