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Dr. Ellen Ochoa didn’t always dream of becoming an astronaut. Born and raised in southern California, she excelled in multiple subjects - music, business, math, journalism, computer science - and didn't set her sights on space until she was in graduate school. It took Ochoa multiple tries to be accepted to NASA's astronaut training program; when she finally boarded the space shuttle Discovery in 1993, she made history as the world’s first Latina astronaut. This was just the beginning of a long career at NASA; in 2012 Ochoa became the first person of Latin American descent to serve as Director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and the second woman to ever hold the title. In addition to her ground-breaking career, Ochoa continued to devote herself to music - one of the most famous images of her shows her playing her flute while she was on board Discovery.

Here's what you'll need to dress up as Ellen Ochoa for Halloween!

If you want to save some time, you can order a NASA space suit instead of making one: Amazon Link

Ellen famously brought her flute with her on board Discovery, and played it as she flew weightlessly around the Earth. Make your very own flute using this super cool project from No Time for Flashcards!


For your trick-or-treat bag, paint the shuttle Discovery on a canvas bag! This is a great step-by-step guide to drawing a spaceship on YouTube, and you can purchase a canvas bag to paint at Amazon. Rather buy one pre-painted? Check this one out on Amazon.


Can't wait to learn more about Ellen? Check out Julia Finley Mosca's The Astronaut with a Song for the Stars: The Story of Dr. Ellen Ochoa (published in 2019)! Our reading guide for this amazing book is also available on Instagram (be sure to follow us while you're there!). 

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