LSINC Corporation Employee Engagement Series Features Veteran Astronaut and Former Johnson Space Center Director

To enhance LSINC Coporation’s mission to provide customers with innovative solutions derived through collaboration and multiple perspectives, LSINC created an employee engagement series to bring together bright, innovative minds to share their stories with LSINC employees. Most recently, LSINC Corporation invited Dr. Ellen Ochoa, a 4-time shuttle astronaut and 2017 inductee into the Astronaut Hall of Fame, to share her experiences working at NASA and lessons learned about successfully leading a set complex and diverse projects.  Dr. Ochoa served as the 11th director of  Johnson Space Center with the distinction of being its second female director and first Hispanic director. Her impressive career also includes previous management roles as Deputy Center Director and Director of Flight Crew Operations.

Born in California, Ochoa earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from San Diego State University and a master’s degree and doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Ochoa joined NASA in 1988 as a research engineer at Ames Research Center and moved to Johnson Space Center in 1990, when she was selected as an astronaut. She became the first Hispanic woman to go to space, serving on the nine-day STS-56 mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1993.  She has flown in space a total of four times, including STS-66, STS-96 and STS-110, logging nearly 1,000 hours in orbit. 

As a research engineer at Sandia National Laboratories and NASA Ames Research Center, Ochoa investigated optical systems for performing information processing. She is a co-inventor on three patents and author of several technical papers.

Ochoa has been recognized by NASA and earned its highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award for senior executives in the federal government. Along with numerous other awards, she is especially honored to have six schools named for her. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), serves on several boards, and chairs the Nomination Evaluation Committee for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

LSINC President Robert Lightfoot shares his thoughts on Dr. Ochoa’s participation in the LSINC employee engagement series, saying, “Ellen proves the sky is not the limit. When we talk about bringing a different perspective to an issue, or thinking of the big picture, she is among the few who have seen planet Earth from space, and she took that experience with her to every organization she led. We are privileged that she was able to share those experiences with us and inspire our employees to approach every challenge with a pioneering spirit.”