This Week @NASA Sept. 22, 2023
- Tracking a mission’s historic return to Earth …
- A year of science onboard the space station …
- And the safe arrival of the station’s newest resident astronaut … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!
Tracking Our First Asteroid Sample Return Mission
The return to Earth of OSIRIS-REx, our first ever asteroid sample return mission, is nearly complete. On Sept. 24, as the O-REx spacecraft approaches Earth, it will release a capsule containing about 8.8 ounces of sample material collected from asteroid Bennu. Following a parachute-assisted landing in the Utah desert, the capsule will be retrieved and eventually shipped to our Johnson Space Center for examination in a pristine curation facility. The sample will be unveiled during a live televised NASA news conference on Oct. 11.
Frank Rubio’s Year of Science in Space
Sept. 21 marked a full year in space for NASA astronaut Frank Rubio. Since arriving at the International Space Station, he has worked on dozens of experiments. These include an experiment that grows tomatoes using water-based and air-based techniques rather than soil, an investigation that could enable in-space 3D printing of functional human organs for transplants, and more. Rubio is scheduled to return to Earth on Sept. 27, after a U.S. record 371 days in space.
Loral O’Hara Arrives at Space Station for Science Expedition
On Sept. 15, NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara and two cosmonauts safely arrived at the space station – increasing the number of residents aboard the station to 10. This six-month stay on the orbital outpost is O’Hara’s first spaceflight.
NASA Releases First Season of Spanish-language Podcast
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are releasing new content for Universo curioso de la NASA, the agency’s first Spanish-language podcast. A five-episode season kicked off on Sept. 19 – with new episodes scheduled to be released weekly. For more about Universo curioso de la NASA and other NASA podcasts visit nasa.gov/podcasts.
That’s what’s up this week @NASA … For more on these and other stories, follow us on the web at nasa.gov/twan.
Loral O’Hara NASA Astronaut
Loral O’Hara was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class. She reported for duty in August 2017. The Texas native 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. Prior to joining NASA, her work focused on the engineering and operations of deep-ocean research scientific submersibles and robots. O’Hara safely launched and docked to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz rocket on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023.
O’Hara was born in Houston, Texas, and most recently resided in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Recreational interests include outdoor sports such as sailing, surfing, kayaking, backpacking, and pond hockey. She also enjoys reading, painting, and traveling. She holds a Private Pilot license.
Graduated from Clements High School in Sugar Land, Texas in 2001. Earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, in 2005. Earned a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana in 2009.
At the time of her selection in June 2017, O’Hara was a Research Engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Woods Hole, 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 includes mechanical design and analysis, systems engineering, manned submersible testing and certification, and vehicle operations. She participated in eleven scientific research cruises aboard research vessels as a mechanical technician and data processor. From 2006 to 2007, she worked for Rocketplane in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma as a project engineer on the development of a suborbital space vehicle.
O’Hara worked as an intern at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2003, participated in the NASA Academy at Goddard Space Flight Center in 2004, and participated in the NASA KC-135 Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program in 2005. In May 2017, she was selected as a member of the 22nd NASA astronaut class. She reported for duty in August 2017 and completed two years of training as an Astronaut Candidate. She served as the Astronaut Office’s Director of Operations in Russia. O’Hara safely launched and docked to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz rocket on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023.
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2008).