Story by Ronald Bailey on 07/17/2019REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama U.S. Army Col. Andrew R. Morgan, M.D., will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, aboard a Soyuz (Union) MS-13 spacecraft July 20 at 12:28 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time for a nine-month mission aboard the International Space Station.
"Twenty-five years ago I made the decision to serve my country as a military officer. I view my nine-month mission to the space station as a continuation of that service, not just to my country, but the entire international community." Morgan said. "Service to others will keep me focused and motivated while I'm away from my family, living and working on board the International Space Station to successfully complete our mission."
Morgan, who will be the first Army physician in space, is a board-certified Army emergency physician with a sub-specialty certification in primary care sports medicine. During his time aboard the space station Morgan will participate with his crew mates and others to facilitate numerous medical and technological experiments and tasks, as well as a number of planned high-profile space walks.
His mission, Expeditions 60, 61 and 62, would make the longest single-mission spaceflight for an Army astronaut and be among the longest ever for an American astronaut when complete.
Morgan will launch with his crew mates from Baikonur Cosmodrome's famous "Gagarin's Start" launch pad. Known as LC-1/5, the pad is the same location where the world's first artificial satellite "Sputnik 1" launched in 1957 as well as the first human in space, Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, in 1961.
Morgan's crew is also launching on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo XI lunar landing which he considers a significant and meaningful way to commemorate the accomplishment for all humanity.
"An international crew launching to an International Space Station on the 50th anniversary of what was the apex of the space race - - it's an interesting contrast." Morgan said. "The Expedition 60 crew is honored to commemorate Apollo XI's historic accomplishment for the world with our launch, and proudly bear the torch for the next generation of space exploration."
Still serving as an active duty Army officer, Morgan was selected as an astronaut candidate in June 2013, completing the training in July 2015. Prior to his selection as an astronaut candidate he served as a commissioned Army medical corps officer with the U.S. Special Operations Command, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Morgan considers New Castle, Pennsylvania, his hometown. He earned a Bachelor of Science in environmental engineering at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York, in 1998, and received his Doctorate in Medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, in 2002.
"I am a Soldier, a military physician, and a NASA astronaut, in that order. I'm a Soldier first, and the military trained me to be a leader of character, dedicated to taking care of people," Morgan said. "Every quality that's made me a successful astronaut is a product of my military training: from my academic degrees to my operational skills. While I regularly draw on the technical skills and specialized training I learned in the military, it's my leadership experiences that I rely on the most."
The U.S. Army's deep involvement in the nation's space program and close work with NASA dates back to the launch in 1958 of Explorer 1, the United States' first satellite, and it was a U.S. Army rocket that carried the first U.S. astronaut into space. Over the years, 18 Army astronauts have been selected by NASA with 16 of those flying aboard either a Space Shuttle, Russian Soyuz spacecraft, or the International Space Station. Morgan will be the 17th to fly.
Soldiers of the U. S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's NASA Astronaut Detachment serve as NASA flight crew and provide engineering expertise for human interface with space systems.
Media interested in the July 20 launch are advised to follow NASA Public Affairs platforms and USASMDC/ARSTRAT social media for updates, images and video. For more information about the Army Astronaut Detachment contact USASMDC/ARSTRAT Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or (256) 955-3887.
NOTE TO ASSIGNMENT EDITORS:
U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command Public Affairs is designated as the Army coordination element with NASA Public Affairs for Army Astronauts as it specifically relates to their status as active duty Soldiers. General media inquiries about Army or other NASA astronauts and the International Space Station should be made to the NASA News Room at (202) 358-1600, 8 a.m. -5 p.m. Eastern Time. To follow Morgan's launch and ISS mission, SMDC/ARSTRAT recommends the following social media and webpage resources:
Col. Morgan's official Twitter
Col. Morgan's official Facebook
Col. Morgan's official Instagram
Col. Morgan's official NASA bio
NASA (Including NASA TV for live video of the launch July 20)
NASA Expedition 60 Flickr