CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Two veteran NASA astronauts were inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame “Heroes & Legends” exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Tuesday.
The first 2017 inductee: Ellen Ochoa. She is the first Hispanic woman to fly in space. Her dream as a girl was to become an astronaut but growing up women and minorities weren’t selected to go into space. But that didn’t stop her to keep reaching the stars.
While she was earning her masters and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering at Stanford University NASA selected a diverse class of 35 new astronauts, opening the doors to women and minorities for the first time. When she joined NASA, she flew on 4 space shuttle missions and became the first Hispanic woman to fly to space on April 8th, 1993.
"She was an outstanding physicist, and a terribly smart person,” said Hall of Fame Astronaut Dan Brandenstein. “She's also a great team player. She does a great job in the astronaut office."
Now she's the director of the Johnson Space Center in Texas.
The second 2017 inductee: Michael Foale is the first British to walk in space. He became an astronaut in 1988 and flew on the first two Atlantis missions. He logged nearly 400 days in space during his career as an astronaut.
"He's a very talented scientist, he was also a very important team player,” said Brandenstein. “Michael has flown 6 times, very stellar career; he’s the only person that’s been on both the Russian space station and the US space station, so he spent a tour on Mir.”
Foale and Ochoa now join the ranks of 93 other astronauts, the trail blazing explorers of the past now helping to tell the story of the space coast's future.
Dan Brandenstein who made the announcement of the two inductees Tuesday morning is was inducted in the hall of fame in 2003. He also serves on the committee made up of other hall of fame astronauts, NASA officials, journalists, and historians who select outstanding astronauts to be part of the hall of fame.
“We’re looking for a well-rounded contributor to the space program and to advancing education with our young students,” stated Brandenstein.
On Friday May 19th there will be the formal induction of the two astronauts and a formal gala will be held for Foale and Ochoa on Saturday May 20th