Ellen Ochoa

Veteran Astronaut, Director of NASA Johnson Space Center (retired)

Ellen Ochoa, Ph.D., joined the SRI International board of directors in February 2023.  

A former astronaut, former Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and until May 2022, chair of the National Science Board, Ochoa currently serves on several corporate and nonprofit boards. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Inventors, and the Optical Society of America. 

Ochoa flew four missions as a NASA astronaut and was the first crew to dock with the International Space Station. She logged nearly 1,000 hours in orbit during her astronaut career and received numerous decorations, including NASA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal. She later became the first Hispanic director and second female director in 2013 of NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, the hub for all NASA’s human-crewed space flights. She joined the National Science Board as part of the class of 2016.  

Ochoa received her B.S. in physics from San Diego State University and her M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1981 and 1985, respectively, both in electrical engineering. She is the co-inventor of three patents covering a design for enhancing visual features; recognizing position, rotation, and intensity invariant targets in an optical field; and reducing image noise.