Loral O’Hara 
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Loral O’Hara 

MS aeronautics and astronautics ’09
Born: 1983
Mission: Expedition 69/70

Loral O’Hara became the 24th member of Purdue’s “Cradle of Astronauts” when NASA selected the Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories alumna as part of its 2017 astronaut class. 

Loral O’Hara

Loral O’Hara  NASA Bio

In September 2023, O’Hara will make her first spaceflight as part of Expedition 69/70 to the International Space Station. That voyage will make her the third Purdue woman from NASA – and sixth overall – to venture into space, joining NASA predecessors Janice Voss and Mary Ellen Weber and commercial astronauts Beth Moses, Sirisha Bandla and Audrey Powers. 

At the time of her selection to Purdue’s astronaut class in June 2017, O’Hara was a research engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, 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 included 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 engineer and data processor. 

As a Purdue graduate student, O’Hara teamed with classmate Yen Yu (Matsutomi) — a future engine design leader at Blue Origin — to form the first all-female rocket propulsion team at Zucrow Labs. They conducted subscale rocket engine experiments for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and co-authored a pair of conference papers.