Encyclopedia Astronautica
Onizuka



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Onizuka
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
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STS-51-C
Astronaut Ellison Onizuka eating with chopsticks on the middeck
Credit: NASA
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STS-51-C
Astronauts Onizuka and Shriver pose in middeck
Credit: NASA
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STS-51-C
Mission Specialist Ellison Onizuka seated at commander's station
Credit: NASA
Onizuka, Ellison Shoji (1946-1986) American test engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-51-C, STS-51-L. Died in Challenger accident.

Educated Colorado.

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.

Birth Place: Kealakekua, Kona, Hawaii.
Status: Deceased.


Born: 1946.06.24.
Died: 1986.01.28.
Spaceflights: 2 .
Total time in space: 3.07 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • NASA Group 8 - 1978 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Recruit women and minorities to introduce diversity into the astronaut corps. Nickname: TFNG - Thirty-Five New Guys, also an obscene military phrase. More...

Associated Flights
  • STS-10 Crew: Mattingly, Shriver, Onizuka, Buchli, Payton. Planned Department of Defense shuttle mission. Cancelled due to payload delays. Backup crew: Wright. More...
  • STS-41-E Crew: Mattingly, Shriver, Onizuka, Buchli, Detroye. Planned Department of Defense shuttle mission. Cancelled due to IUS failure. Backup crew: Sundberg.Support crew: Watterson. More...
  • STS-51-C Crew: Buchli, Mattingly, Onizuka, Payton, Shriver. First shuttle military mission. Manned five crew. Deployed USA 8 (Aquacade ELINT spacecraft). Experienced blow-by in both nozzle joints and erosion and blow-by in two case joints. More...
  • STS-51-L Crew: Jarvis, McAuliffe, McNair, Onizuka, Resnik, Scobee, Smith. First shuttle launch from pad LC-39B. An O-ring failure in a solid rocket booster led to leaking of hot gases against the external tank; exploded 73 seconds after launch, all seven crew, with no means of escape, were killed when crew cabin hit the ocean. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

Bibliography
  • NASA Astronaut Biographies, Johnson Space Center, NASA, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

Onizuka Chronology


1978 January 16 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 8 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bluford; Brandenstein; Buchli; Coats; Covey; Creighton; Fabian; Fisher; Gardner; Gibson; Gregory; Griggs; Hart; Hauck; Hawley; Hoffman; Lucid; McBride; McNair; Mullane; Nagel; Nelson; Onizuka; Resnik; Ride; Scobee; Seddon; Shaw; Shriver; Stewart; Sullivan. The group was selected to provide pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Recruit women and minorities to introduce diversity into the astronaut corps. Qualifications: Pilots: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. Advanced degree desirable. At least 1,000 flight-hours of pilot-in-command time. Flight test experience desirable. Excellent health. Vision minimum 20/50 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 vision; maximum sitting blood pressure 140/90. Height between 163 and 193 cm.

    Mission Specialists: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics and minimum three years of related experience or an advanced degree. Vision minimum 20/150 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20. Maximum sitting blood pressure of 140/90. Height between 150 and 193 cm.. 8,079 applicants, of which half met the basic qualifications. 208 invited for physical tests and interviews. Of the 35 selected, six were women, three were male African-Americans, and one was a male Asian-American.


1983 November - .
1984 July - .
1985 January 24 - . 19:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-20/51-C.
  • STS-51-C - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Buchli; Mattingly; Onizuka; Payton; Shriver. Payload: Discovery F03 / Magnum 1 [IUS]. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Buchli; Mattingly; Onizuka; Payton; Shriver. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-51-C. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 3.06 days. Decay Date: 1985-01-27 . USAF Sat Cat: 15496 . COSPAR: 1985-010A. Apogee: 341 km (211 mi). Perigee: 332 km (206 mi). Inclination: 28.4000 deg. Period: 91.30 min. 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.

1985 January 27 - .
1986 January 28 - . 16:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-33/51-L. FAILURE: Seal on SRB failed, allowed hot gas to burn through External Tank.. Failed Stage: 0.
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