Sugar Land woman among new astronaut candidates: Meet Loral O'Hara

Loral O'Hara
Loral O'Hara

SUGAR LAND, Texas – A Sugar Land woman is among the 12 new astronaut candidates named Wednesday by NASA.

Loral O’Hara, a research engineer for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, was selected along from a pool of more than 18,300 people. She will report for duty in August 2017.

O’Hara was born in Houston, Texas, and raised in Sugar Land, Texas, where her parents Steve and Cindy still live. O’Hara is a private pilot and certified EMT and wilderness first responder.

O'Hara earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Kansas and a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University. As a student, she participated in NASA’s KC-135 Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program, the NASA Academy at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and the internship program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In her official NASA biography, O’Hara is said to enjoy working in the garage, traveling, surfing, diving, flying, sailing, skiing, hiking/orienteering, caving, reading, and painting.     

O’Hara graduated from Clements High School.

NASA said O’Hara will begin two years of training as an astronaut candidate. At the completion of the training, she will be assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office while she awaits a flight assignment.

O’Hara and the other newbies, Zena Cardman, Jasmin Moghbeli, Jonny Kim, Frank Rubio, Matthew Dominick, Warren Hoburg, Robb Kulin, Kayla Barron, Bob Hines, Raji Chari and Jessica Watkins, may end up riding commercial rockets to the International Space Station or flying beyond the moon in NASA's Orion spacecraft. Their ultimate destination could be Mars.


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