Science has always had an advocate in Dr. Ellen Ochoa, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Now, it is official, as Ochoa has been named the final member of the National Science Board’s (NSB’s) class of 2022.
“We are thrilled with the addition of Dr. Ochoa to the National Science Board,” said Maria Zuber, NSB Chair. “She brings a unique perspective and set of experiences that promise to be of great service to the National Science Foundation.”
Ochoa is not only a veteran of four spaceflights—she is also co-inventor on three patents and holds NASA’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal.
“A brilliant engineer, former astronaut and a pioneer for women in science, we are honored to welcome Dr. Ochoa to the National Science Board,” said National Science Foundation Director France Córdova. “Her many years of leadership in fearless pursuit of advancement in science and engineering will prove immensely valuable to NSF’s mission and goals.”
As director, Ochoa oversees JSC, home base of the astronauts, mission control and the nucleus of many spaceflight programs that will advance human space exploration and NASA’s journey to Mars. Before that, she served as the center’s deputy director.
Ochoa first traveled to space in 1993, when she served on a nine-day mission aboard Space Shuttle Discovery
. She flew three additional missions and logged nearly 1,000 hours in orbit.
Ochoa began her career as a research engineer at Sandia National Laboratories after receiving her doctorate from Stanford University.
The NSB establishes National Science Foundation policies within the framework of applicable national policies set forth by the president and Congress. The Board identifies issues critical to the foundation’s future, approves the agency’s strategic budget directions and the annual budget submission to the Office of Management and Budget, as well as new major programs and awards. The NSB also provides the president and Congress with a biennial report on U.S. progress in science and technology. Collectively, the Board represents a variety of science and engineering disciplines and regions across the United States.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be appointed to the National Science Board,” Ochoa said. “I look forward to meeting my fellow members and to contributing to the discussion on our nation’s science policy.”
Catherine Ragin Williams
NASA Johnson Space Center
Director of NASA's Johnson Space Center, Dr. Ellen Ochoa. Image Credit: NASA