Navy Lt. Jonny Kim
went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim as a Navy SEAL, a graduate of Harvard Medical school and as a NASA astronaut.
The Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal… but some seem to really push the envelope on that notion. One of them is Jonny Kim, who is not only one of NASA's newest astronauts, but is also a graduate of Harvard Medical School and an active-duty Navy lieutenant with a distinguished combat record after serving with SEAL Team Three.
With such an impressive resume, the 35-year-old Kim seems to have achieved three lifetimes' worth of childhood dreams in one. But, according to a 2017 profile of the sailor for the Harvard Gazette, Kim started out with a feeling we can all relate to: a lack of self-confidence.
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.