Lorna Onizuka Makes It Through in the Arms of Her NASA Family

Catherine Ragin Williams
NASA Johnson Space Center
Reprinted with Permission

Editor’s note: While Googling information on the 1986 Challenger Space Shuttle tragedy a few months ago, I happened across this story by Catherine Ragin Williams of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. If you are old enough to remember the tragedy that claimed the life of Kona-born astronaut Ellison Onizuka, you likely remember the faces of Ellison’s family — his widow Lorna and their two young daughters, and his mother and three siblings. Lorna Onizuka, who also was born and raised on Hawai‘i Island, decided to remain in Houston, where she raised her daughters with her “NASA family” and works with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Catherine’s piece was originally published in May 2015 in conjunction with the Johnson Space Center’s observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month to honor a few employees “whose character, courage and commitment have helped shape them into the people they are today.” The story was updated this past August.

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