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Challenger Crew: Ellison S. Onizuka

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Posted at 12:09 PM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 06:32:12-05

Ellison Onizuka was thought of as a creative genius and became the first Asian American to ever go to space. Originally from Kealakekua, Hawaii, Onizuka was chosen for the NASA astronaut program in 1978.

Selected out of thousands of applicants, Onizuka became apart of a team of 35 astronauts to enter the NASA space shuttle program. His first mission was on January 24th, 1985, aboard the space shuttle Discovery.

Onizuka performed primary payload activities while aboard Discovery. He completed 48 orbits of the earth, before landing back at the Kennedy Space Center on January 27th. Soon after, he was chosen for a second mission aboard the space shuttle Challenger.

Remembered as a hero in Hawaii, the state's first astronaut spent much of his career inspiring local youth. Today, you'll find a quote on all U.S. passports, honoring Onizula's commitment to space, "Every generation has the obligation to free men's minds for a look at new worlds...to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation."

WTXL ABC27 and the Challenger Learning Center honor Ellison Onizuka and will forever remember his contribution to the exploration of space.