On the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Army Col. Andrew Morgan will leave the Earth for the International Space Station. And even though it will be Army surgeon-turned-NASA astronaut's first time in space when he breaks through the atmosphere on July 20, he says it was his more than two decades in uniform that prepared him most for the upcoming mission.
"I chose to start serving my country when I was 18 years old," Morgan, who will blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft alongside his two fellow crew members from Italy and Russia, said during a call with reporters on April 19. "I've been doing that for 25 years. This is a continuation of that service."
Next June, Army Lt. Col. Andrew Morgan will strap into a capsule on the top of a Russian Soyuz-FG rocket. As the first stage engines ignite, 838.5 kilonewtons of thrust will thunder out of four liquid-fueled boosters. Less than ten minutes later, he will be in space, orbiting the Earth.
NASA announced June 7 that it has selected a new class of 12 astronaut candidates and seven of them have served in the U.S. military. After receiving 18,300 applications, NASA narrowed the list down, and these men and women will join the elite ranks of only 338 former astronauts in U.S. history.