WOODS HOLE, MASS. (WHDH) - A woman with local ties recently launched into space to do work on the International Space Station. 

Astronaut Loral O’Hara formerly worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution before signing up to go into space. 

Speaking with 7NEWS, one of her former coworkers discussed seeing O’Hara shoot for the stars. 

“Loral is just a shining, shining star,” said Dennis McGillicuddy, a senior scientist at Woods Hole. 

O’Hara once worked as an engineer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. 

Now, she is making her first spaceflight with a Russian crew to the ISS. 

“She is an incredibly gifted and talented mechanical engineer which is what brought her to us originally but that drive to explore was clearly present from the get-go,” McGillicuddy said.

 McGillicuddy continued, saying space exploration isn’t that different from exploring the oceans.

“Like space, the deep ocean is a very harsh environment with very, very high pressures, very, very low temperatures and, of course, the corrosive aspect of sea water,” McGillicuddy said. 

O’Hara has said her time at Woods Hole prepared her to travel to space. 

Researchers at the Woods Hole Institution agree. 

“Loral is a tremendously talented engineer and, when you think about and when you think about the tremendous breadth of expertise in engineering and systems that go into space launches, she and others are in very good hands,” McGillicuddy said. 

O’Hara is scheduled to spend six months aboard the International Space Station as part of her current mission. 

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