Ellison Onizuka (Photo: NASA)
Growing up in Hawaii, Ellison Shoji Onizuka participated in 4-H and Boy Scouts, rising to the level of Eagle Scout. He went on to earn degrees in aerospace engineering and then, in 1970, joined the U.S. Air Force. Onizuka served as a test flight engineer and test pilot before being selected for the astronaut program in 1978.
In January 1985, as Mission Specialist 1 aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery
, Onizuka became the first Asian American in space. After the success of that flight, Onizuka was again selected to serve as Mission Specialist, this time aboard the Challenger
for mission STS 51-L which would launch January 28, 1986.
Onizuka and the entire Challenger
were killed when the Shuttle exploded seconds after lift-off. He was survived by his wife and his two young daughters.
Twenty-five years later we remember astronaut Ellison Onizuka and invite you to share memories and condolences in his Guest Book.