Loral O'Hara Live Q&A from International Space Station

NASA astronaut and KU aerospace engineering alum Loral O'Hara took part in a live Q&A from the International Space Station with KU students on Feb. 9, 2024.

LAWRENCE — An out-of-this-world conversation — quite literally — is coming to the University of Kansas.


Editor’s note: This event has been rescheduled for 2:25 p.m. Feb. 9. The story below reflects the new time and date for the event.

LAWRENCE — An out-of-this-world conversation — quite literally — is coming to the University of Kansas.

NASA astronaut and KU School of Engineering graduate Loral O’Hara will host a live Q&A with KU students and faculty from her post on the International Space Station. O’Hara is scheduled to connect via live satellite link at 2:25 p.m. Feb. 9. The public is invited to watch the event live.

O’Hara traveled to the space station in September 2023 and is due to return in mid-March. She is part of the ISS Expedition 70 crew. According to NASA, the astronauts and cosmonauts are studying an array of microgravity phenomena to benefit humans living on and off the Earth. The crew is also exploring heart health, cancer treatments, space manufacturing techniques and more during their long duration stay in Earth orbit.

Rick Hale, professor of aerospace engineering, will moderate the Q&A session, which is scheduled to last approximately 25 minutes.

Hale, who also serves as aerospace engineering department chair and taught O’Hara when she was a student at KU, said this unique opportunity is extremely valuable.

“Having a former student in such a high visibility position, when the odds of achieving such a position are so limited, is a tangible reinforcement to the professional development plans of current and future aerospace engineering students,” Hale said. “Loral’s professional development path is a testament to what can be achieved with a long-term vision and focus. The opportunity for students to interact with her in real time makes the experience more real and brings the community closer.”

O’Hara graduated from KU with a degree in aerospace engineering in 2006. She was selected as part of the 2017 NASA astronaut class. She is the fourth KU graduate to travel into space, joining 1955 KU engineering graduates Joe Engle and Ron Evans, and 1973 physics & astronomy graduate Steve Hawley.

Photo: NASA astronaut and Expedition 70 Flight Engineer Loral O'Hara replaces hardware inside the Plant Habitat facility to prep for future experiments investigating genetic responses and immune system function of tomatoes in microgravity. Credit: NASA