Onizuka, c. 1980s
|Died||January 28, 1986 (aged 39)|
Time in space
|3d 01h 33m|
|Selection||1978 NASA Group 8|
Ellison Shoji Onizuka (エリソン・ショージ・オニヅカ, 鬼塚 承次, Onizuka Shōji, June 24, 1946 – January 28, 1986) was an American NASA astronaut and engineer. He flew into space with the Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-51-C in 1985. He later died in the disaster of Space Shuttle Challenger. He was serving as Mission Specialist for Challenger's STS-51-L. He was the first Asian American and the first person of Japanese ancestry to reach space.
Onizuka was born in Kealakekua, Hawaii. He got two degrees at the University of Colorado at Boulder (B.S. and M.S.) in 1969. He was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He was awarded the rank of colonel after his death. He married Lorna Leiko Yoshida in 1969. The couple had two daughters.
On January 28, 1986, Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds after launch. Onizuka and all six others aboard died.
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