Latina Women Make History and Reach for the Stars

Recognizing women in space technology.

By on March 22, 2013

You don’t have to look to the stars to see how space technology touches our daily lives. Computers, digital cameras, and wireless phones are just a few of the technologies that can be credited, at least partially, to the people at NASA’s space program.

Dr. Ellen Ochoa is one of those people. In 1990, her work as an innovative engineer caught NASA’s attention, and she was accepted into its astronaut training program. A year later, she made headlines as the first Hispanic female astronaut. The invention of three optical analysis systems, one of Ochoa many contributions, helped NASA improve not only the ability to gather data but also assess the reliability and safety of equipment in space. A mission specialist and flight engineer, Ochoa is a veteran of four space flights, and currently serves as the Deputy Director of NASA's Johnson Space Center.

Then, there is Dr. Michela Muñoz Fernández. She works on the Juno mission toMichela Juno NASA Jupiter, one of the largest interplanetary research missions by NASA, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Telecommunications technology contributions from the space program have come full circle for Muñoz Fernández who, with the help of space satellites, uses her smartphone to monitor data coming from the spacecraft on its way to Jupiter. While Muñoz follows the spacecraft, satellites make GPS technology possible in everyday life. Apps like VZ Navigator, turn a mobile phone into a navigation device with turn-by-turn directions and 3D city views.

To follow the work of these great women and NASA, try the Space Images or NASA apps for stunning images and videos of space, stars and planets, or visit Mars with the NASA Be a Martian app. Follow the Juno mission’s progress on Twitter @NASAJuno.