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2020 Stinson Trophy honors first Hispanic woman in space2020 Stinson Trophy honors first Hispanic woman in space

Dr. Ellen Ochoa, former director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center

An award created in 1997 to honor two sisters who were among the first 11 women to be certificated as airplane pilots is being bestowed on another pioneering woman, Dr. Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman in space and former director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Dr. Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman in space and former director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, is the recipient of the 2020 Stinson Trophy. Photo courtesy of NAA.

The Stinson Trophy is named for Katherine and Marjorie Stinson, who were certificated as pilots through the Aero Club of America, a predecessor of the National Aeronautic Association, which created the award.

According to NASA, Ochoa, who started working for the administration in 1998 as a research engineer at Ames Research Center before moving to the Johnson Space Center in 1990, became the first Hispanic woman in space in 1993 when she served on a nine-day mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Ochoa has been to space four times and logged almost 1,000 hours in orbit, her NASA biography states.

Ochoa became the first Hispanic director and second female director of the Johnson Space Center in 2013 .

“Ochoa helped maximize use of the International Space Station and develop the Orion spacecraft for future missions, such as taking humans into deep space,” the NAA said of Ochoa’s tenure as director.

NASA bestowed its highest award on Ochoa, the Distinguished Service Medal.

Ochoa retired from NASA in 2018 and currently serves as the chair of the National Science Board, which advises Congress and the president “on policy matters related to science, engineering, and education.” She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Ochoa is also an advocate for science, technology, engineering, and math education, and has six schools named in her honor.

“It’s such an honor to be recognized by NAA and particularly for an award named after two pioneering women,” Ochoa said in the NAA news release. “The Stinsons and other groundbreaking women in aviation and space paved the way for me to be able to contribute to the amazing endeavor of human space flight—and to inspire girls to reach for the stars.”

Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Cobb

AOPA Senior Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor
AOPA Senior Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Cobb began working at AOPA in 2004, is a flight instructor, and loves flying her Cessna 170B with her husband and son. Alyssa is also co-host of AOPA Live This Week.
Topics: People, Awards and Records

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