Official NASA Biography
Ellison S. Onizuka, was born in Kealakekua, Kona, Hawaii, on June 24, 1946, of Japanese-American parents. He attended the University of Colorado, receiving B.S. and M.S. degrees in engineering in June and December 1969, respectively. While at the university he married Lorna Leido Yoshida of Hawaii, and the couple eventually had two children. He also participated in the Air Force R.O.T.C. program, leading to a commission in January 1970. Onizuka served on active duty with the Air Force until January 1978 when he was selected as a NASA astronaut. With the Air Force in the early 1970s he was an aerospace flight test engineer at the Sacramento Air Logistics Center. After July 1975 he was assigned to the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California, as squadron flight test officer and later as chief of the engineering support section.
When Onizuka was selected for the astronaut corps he entered into a one year training program and then became eligible for assignment as a mission specialist on future Space Shuttle flights. He worked on orbiter test and checkout teams and launch support crews at the Kennedy Space Center for the first two Shuttle missions. Since he was an Air Force officer on detached duty with NASA, Onizuka was a logical choice to serve on the first dedicated Department of Defense classified mission. He was a mission specialist on STS-51-C, taking place 24-27 Jan. 1985 on the Discovery orbiter. The Challenger flight on which he was killed was his second Shuttle mission.
Planned Department of Defense shuttle mission. Cancelled due to payload delays.
Planned Department of Defense shuttle mission. Cancelled due to IUS failure.
Manned five crew. Deployed USA 8 (Aquacade ELINT spacecraft). Orbits of Earth: 48. Landed at: Runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Landing Speed: 342 kph. Touchdown miss distance: 839.00 m. Landing Rollout: 2,240.00 m. Payloads: Department of Defence classified payloads.
Exploded 73 seconds after launch, all 7 crewmembers were killed; carried TDRSS satellite.