Ellison Onizuka 1946-1986

He became an instant hero to both Hawaiians and Japanese Americans last January as the first member of either group to fly in space. Ellison Onizuka was a mission specialist on last year's classified military flight of Discovery, but he was perhaps most appreciated among colleagues for his gentle, unassuming manner. Describing one of the tasks he was to perform on Challenger, to film Halley's comet with a hand-held camera, he remarked with typical understatement, "I'll be looking at Halley's comet. They tell me I'll have one of the best views around."

The grandson of Japanese immigrants, Onizuka grew up in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!