Loral O'Hara

Loral O'Hara

MSAAE 2009

"Purdue AAE gave me a strong foundation in problem solving with an emphasis on practical applications. I learned how to methodically approach a problem, formulate a solution and communicate my work to others. These skills are crucial no matter what kind of problem you are trying to solve, engineering or otherwise.”

Loral O’Hara is a NASA astronaut. She was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class and became eligible for a mission assignment after completing NASA’s astronaut candidate program and joining its astronaut corps in January 2020. Training included scientific and technical briefings, instruction in International Space Station (ISS) systems, spacewalking, robotics, T-38 flight training and water and wilderness survival training.

While awaiting a spaceflight assignment, O’Hara serves NASA Director of Operations-Star City, Russia, where she supports crew training and operations in Russia.

Prior to joining NASA, O’Hara was a Research Engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where she spent eight years working on the engineering and operations of underwater vehicles, such as the human-occupied research submersible Alvin and the remotely operated vehicle Jason. Her experience includes mechanical design and analysis, systems engineering, manned submersible testing and certification, and vehicle operations. She participated in 11 research cruises aboard research vessels as a mechanical technician and data processor.

From 2006-07, O’Hara worked for Rocketplane as a project engineer on the development of a suborbital space vehicle.

O’Hara earned a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Kansas and a Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University.

Class of 2020 OAE feature series: Loral O'Hara

Class of 2020 OAE feature series: Bond built at Purdue