Ellen Ochoa (1958 - )
Dr. Ellen Ochoa was the first Latina woman astronaut to go into space in 1993 on the shuttle Discovery, serving as the mission specialist. Prior to becoming an astronaut, Dr. Ochoa researched optical systems for performing information processing, which led to her becoming a co-inventor on three patents. She was the 11th director of the Johnson Space Center, the first Latina director and the second female director overall. Dr. Ochoa received the highest NASA award, the Distinguished Service Medal.