Purdue grad 1 of 12 new astronaut candidates

2017 NASA astronaut candidate Loral O'Hara is shown June 6, 2017, at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base's Hangar 276 Tarmac. (Provided Photo/NASA/Robert Markowitz)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Purdue University graduate Loral O’Hara was announced as one of 12 candidates for NASA’s new class of astronauts and spoke with 24-Hour News 8 on Friday morning.

In 2009, O’Hara earned her master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Purdue’s College of Engineering.

She spoke to WISH about her accomplishments from Houston’s Johnson Space Center but will soon be returning to her hometown of Sugar Land, Texas, as she prepares for two years of astronaut training at the space center in August before possibly getting her first assignment in space.

O’Hara said choosing to study at Purdue was a “no-brainer” because of the nationally recognized programs of the university.

She is one of five women in the 2017 astronaut class and the third Purdue alumna to earn the honor, following Janice E. Voss and Mary Ellen Weber. She also was part of the first all-female team in the rocket propulsion facilities at Purdue’s Maurice Zucrow Laboratory.

Twenty-four Purdue alumni have been chosen as astronauts by NASA.

O’Hara says she and members of program at Purdue are like family and she has every intention to stay in touch and continue working with the University in the years to come.

She promised to keep in touch with WISH-TV, letting us know how training goes and, of course, when she receives her first mission into space.

O’Hara was among more than 18,000 applicants who applied to be a NASA candidate.

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