This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at www.astronautix.com

astronautix.com Onizuka


Ellison Shoji Onizuka Status: Deceased. Trained as: Astronaut. Profession: Mission Specialist. Sex: Male. Marital Status: Married. Children: Two. Birth Date: 24 June 1946. Birth City: Kealakekua, Kona. Birth State: Hawaii. Birth Country: USA. Nationality: American. Date of Death: 28 January 1986. Cause of Death: Challenger explosion. Group: 1978 NASA Group. Date Selected: 16 January 1978. Departed: 1986. Number of Flights: 2. Total Time: 3.07 days.

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.


Flight Log


Back to Index
Last update 3 May 2001.
To contact astronauts or cosmonauts.
Contact Mark Wade with any corrections or comments. Cosmonaut data by Alexander B. Zheleznyakov.

Conditions for use of drawings, pictures, or other materials from this site..
© Mark Wade, 2001 .