Join us at Onizuka Space Science Day

Saturday, March 7, 2020

El Camino College

Meet a NASA Astronaut

Take part in Science Demonstrations

For reservations:

For more info or call 310-660-3487

NASA Astronaut,  Stanley G. Love will be our keynote speaker and will conduct a question and answer session. Students will be involved with hands-on scientific workshops.

Click for Onizuka Day 2017 Brochure


Onizuka Space Science Day is dedicated to the memory of the seven Challenger astronauts, who on January 28, 1986 lost their lives in pursuit of their dreams. Their courage and ambition continues to inspire all.

Jan. 28 marked the 28th anniversary of the accident that took the lives of Ellison Onizuka and six crewmates. In Little Tokyo, the monument dedicated to the crew of the space shuttle Challenger attracted more attention than usual because of a large wreath placed next to it — an annual tradition. The model was built in 1990 by Isao Hirai, president of the Scale Model Company in Hawthorne. “ He basically obtained the specifications from North American, who built the shuttle,” Murakoshi said. “This model is to (one-tenth) scale, and the paint that you see is the exact paint that you would have seen on the Challenger …He noted that astronauts who have seen the model say it is “exactly like the Challenger was at that time.”

Murakoshi, who has been on the 13-member board since 1994, inspected the monument along with Vice President Ted Tashima and Treasurer Herb Omura, both of whom are original board members.

The original president, Matt Matsuoka, knew Onizuka and his family personally. He was invited to witness the launch of the Challenger but was unable to attend.

Like the Onizuka Memorial Committee on Hawaii’s Big Island, the Los Angeles group sponsors an annual Space Science Day for young people during spring break. It started at University of Southern California and was moved to El Camino College in 1999.

“Our primary intent for having Space Science Day is to follow Ellison Onizuka’s dream,” Murakoshi explained. “He wanted to give the message to the young kids that no matter how large your dream is, it’s always achievable. He wanted them to get very interested in science, technology, so we decided that we should have a conference where we can invite the kids.

“We have approximately 1,000 students attending at El Camino College, and we have various breakout sessions covering various technologies and science. We always have a guest astronaut from NASA in Houston. We also have astronauts from the Japanese space agency, JAXA. They … talk about Ellison, talk about the space program. Then we have a breakout session where the students in attendance can speak directly to the astronaut.”

Make your life count – and the world will be a better place because you tried.

– Ellison S. Onizuka, 1980

 Click for Onizuka Day 2017 Brochure

Our Speaker in 2020

International NASA Astronaut

 Mark T. Vande Hei



Expedition 53/54 (September 13 through February 28, 2018). The crew launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard the Soyuz spacecraft. Vande Hei, who served as Flight Engineer, was joined by Astronaut Joe Acaba and Russian Cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos.  During the mission the crew marked the beginning of the first long-term increase in crew size on the U.S. segment, enabling NASA to double the time dedicated to research and achieve a record-setting week of research that surpassed 100 hours. Highlights from this research include investigations into the manufacturing of fiber optic filaments in microgravity, improving the accuracy of an implantable glucoses biosensor, and measuring the Sun’s energy input to Earth.  Vande Hei logged 168 days in space on this, his first, mission. He ventured outside the space station on four spacewalks to perform work that included replacing and lubricating the Latching End Effectors on both ends of the Canadarm2. Total duration of these four spacewalks was 26 hours and 42 minutes.



NASA Astronaut Mark T. Vande Hei
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