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Veteran NASA Astronauts Michael Foale and Ellen Ochoa Inducted into U. S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

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CAPE CANAVERAL (May 19, 2017) – KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – Today, in a ceremony set beneath Space Shuttle Atlantis® at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, two veteran astronauts were inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®.  Michael Foale and Ellen Ochoa, each a legend in his and her own right, joined the ranks of 93 prestigious American space heroes who have received the same honor.  
The location of the ceremony held special significance, as both inductees have served missions aboard the storied space shuttle Atlantis. Foale and Ochoa make up the 16th group of space shuttle astronauts to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and their addition to the group brings the total number of inductees to 95.   
Both have had illustrious careers centered around their love of space and science:

  • Foale was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1987 and later was named mission specialist on three of his six space shuttle missions. He has become the only American citizen to have served on both Mir and the International Space Station (ISS). During his NASA career, Foale became Chief of the Soyuz Branch at Johnson Space Center supporting Soyuz and International Space Station operations.
  • Ochoa has achieved two major firsts for the Hispanic community: she was the first Hispanic woman to go to space, the first Hispanic director of Johnson Space Center and is now the first Hispanic woman to be inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. She currently serves as the 11th director of the Johnson Space Center. After becoming a United States astronaut in 1991, Ochoa served as a mission specialist on four space shuttle flights and as payload commander on one of those missions. She also has operated the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) three times in her career, once for an eight-hour spacewalk.

More than 20 legendary astronauts were on hand to welcome the inductees, including: Robert Cabana, Dan Brandenstein, Al Worden, Charlie Duke, Karol “Bo” Bobko, Brian Duffy, Scott Altman, Michael Bloomfield, Charles Bolden, Ken Bowersox, Curtis Brown, Michael Coats, Robert Crippen, Sam Durrance, Robert Gibson, Fred Gregory, Rhea Seddon, Brewster Shaw, Loren Shriver, Kathryn Thornton, and James Wetherbee.
The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame was spearheaded more than 30 years ago by the founders of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, the six surviving Mercury 7 astronauts, with the goal of helping university students pursue their dreams in science, technology, engineering and math. Since that time, the Foundation has awarded more than $4 million in merit-based scholarships to more than 400 brilliant students. In November 2016, a new U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame opened at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, as part of the new Heroes & Legends attraction.
U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction Process and Eligibility
Each year, inductees are selected by a committee of Hall of Fame astronauts, former NASA officials, flight directors, historians and journalists. The process is administered by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. To be eligible, an astronaut must have made his or her first flight at least 17 years before the induction. Candidates must be a U.S. citizen and a NASA-trained commander, pilot or mission specialist who has orbited the earth at least once.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex brings to life the epic story of the U.S. space program, offering a full day or more of fun, inspiration and educational activities, including its newest attraction, Heroes & Legends, featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®, presented by Boeing, which opened November 11, 2016. Other highlights include the Kennedy Space Center Tour featuring the Apollo/Saturn V Center with an actual Saturn V moon rocket, Space Shuttle Atlantis®, Shuttle Launch Experience®, IMAX® A Beautiful Planet 3D and Journey To Space 3D films, Astronaut Encounter, Journey To Mars: Explorers Wanted, Science on a Sphere®, Rocket Garden, Cosmic Quest, and many other exhibits. Only 45 minutes from Orlando, Fla., Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens daily at 9 a.m. with closing times varying by season. Admission is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3 – 11. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers annual passes starting at $75 + tax for adults and $60 + tax for children ages 3 – 11. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit
Twitter: @ExploreSpaceKSC
Media Contacts:
Rebecca Shireman,, 321-449-4273 or 321-213-5926
Lauren Eisele Walbert, Sandy Hillman Communications,, 410-616-8943