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7 Hispanic in Astronomy You Should Know to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

7 Hispanic in Astronomy You Should Know to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanics have made significant contributions to the field of Astronomy. This blog post celebrates their achievements and introduces some of the most prominent Hispanic figures in the field. To honor Hispanic Heritage Month, check out these 7 astronauts of Hispanic descent who have made significant contributions to the field of space exploration.

Find a Google Slides of all of our 2023 STEM Heroes: Hispanic Heritage Month edition that you can make a copy of or download as a PowerPoint for class, home, school, or lab!

Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez 

Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez is an engineer and a former NASA astronaut. He is recognized as the first Cuban astronaut and the first person of African descent to go into space. He conducted experiments on the space adaptation syndrome aboard Soyuz 38 at the Salyut 6 space station. His groundbreaking journey to space opened doors for many others to follow in his footsteps.


Adriana Ocampo

Adana C. Ocampo, a renowned planetary geologist and science program executive at NASA, has made significant contributions to planetary science. She played a key role in discovering Mexico's Chicxulub crater, formed by the asteroid impact that caused dinosaur extinction. She promotes space exploration, inspiring young people, especially women and minorities, to pursue STEM careers.


Dr. Franklin Chang Díaz

Dr. Franklin Chang Díaz is a mechanical engineer, physicist, and former NASA astronaut. He was the first Hispanic astronaut at NASA, and flew on seven space missions, logging 1,500 hours in space, including 19 hours outside the shuttle. He is also the founder and CEO of Ad Astra Rocket Company.


Scarlin Hernández

Scarlin Hernández is an aerospace engineer and motivational speaker. She develops and tests code for the James Webb Space Telescope, which is NASA's signature space mission, at the Space Telescope Science Institute. Along with her contributions to space exploration, she also serves as a civil rights advocate and humanitarian.


Joseph M. Acaba

Joseph M. Acaba is the head of the Mechanical Engineering Department at MIT. He is an internationally recognized leader in phase change heat transfer on nanostructure surfaces, focusing on high-efficiency energy and water systems. Acaba is also transforming the engineering curriculum by implementing new educational models and grand research challenges.


Dr. Ellen Ochoa

Dr. Ellen Ochoa is an engineer, former astronaut, and was the director of Johnson Space Center (JSC). She was the first female Hispanic astronaut and flew in space on four Shuttle missions with nearly 1,000 hours logged. Dr. Ochoa became the 11th director of NASA's Johnson Space Center, making her JSC’s first Hispanic director and second female director.


Enrico Ramirez Ruiz

Enrico Ramirez Ruiz is a professor and chair of Astronomy and Astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. He is an expert in computer simulations that examine violent phenomena like stellar explosions, gamma-ray bursts, and material accretion onto black holes and neutron stars. Ruiz is also the youngest person to be inducted into the prestigious Mexican Academy of Sciences.

During Hispanic Heritage Month, let us celebrate the enduring spirit, inventive drive, and boundary-breaking achievements of these heroes. Their valuable contributions to the STEM fields serve as a reminder of the impact one can make. Their legacies are an everlasting source of inspiration, encouraging future generations to reach for excellence.

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