Asian and Pacific Islander Pioneers in Aerospace

The Cal Poly Aerospace Engineering Department would like to celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander contributions in aerospace engineering. We will look back on these pioneers and their accomplishments and look toward what will be achieved in the future.
Photo: JAXA

Chiaki Mukai

Chiaki Mukai, a JAXA astronaut, was the first Japanese woman in space and the first Asian woman in space.
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Photo: NASA/Wikipedia

Ellison Onizuka

Ellison Onizuka was the first Asian American to reach space. He died in the destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger.
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Photo: Wikipedia

Leah Hing

Leah Hing was the first Chinese American woman to earn her pilot's license, receiving it in 1934.
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Photo: Air & Space/NASM Archives

Li Xiaqing

Li Xiaqing was the first Chinese woman to be granted a civil aviation license in China and went on to co-founded China’s first civilian flying school.
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Liu Yang

Liu Yang is an astronaut who served as a crew member on the space mission Shenzhou 9, becoming the first Chinese woman in space.
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Photo: NASA

Kalpana Chawla

Kalpana Chawla was an American astronaut and engineer who was the first woman of Indian origin to go to space.
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Photo: Jessica Cox

Jessica Cox

Jessica Cox, a Filipino-American, is the first person to pilot a plane with only her feet. In 2008, she became the first armless pilot.
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Photo: Britannica

Yi So-yeon

Yi So-yeon is a South Korean astronaut and biotechnologist who became the first Korean to fly in space.
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