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Following Colonel Andrew Morgan’s Journey to Space

On July 20th – the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch -- U.S. astronaut Army Col. (Dr.) Andrew Morgan, along with Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, and Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, will launch to the International Space Station. (Photo courtesy of @astrodrewmorgan Facebook)
By Zachary Willis

Army physician Col. Andrew Morgan, a NASA astronaut and Uniformed Services University alumnus, will be launching into space on July 20th as part of the Expedition 60/61 crew headed to the International Space Station (ISS), but before that, he has an incredible number of things to do! The final weeks leading up to a space flight can be some of the busiest for an astronaut. Morgan will have to make sure he’s fully prepared for his mission, attend final trainings, ceremonial events, and say goodbye to his family as he boards the Soyuz rocket to the ISS.

To help keep track of what he’ll be up to, Morgan has provided a timeline of events between now and launch day!

Morgan laying down using VR1. Morgan took a trip to Germany to the European Astronaut Center for one week of training and review on some of the European experiments he will be conducting on board the ISS as well as final review of the European Experimental Module, “Columbus,” which is a science laboratory aboard the ISS that allows the astronauts to perform a variety of microgravity experiments and research activities.

2. Returned to the United States.

3. The last week of May, Morgan attended one week of training in Houston, Texas, including an all-day spacewalk training session in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL). The NBL’s indoor pool simulates the zero gravity that astronauts experience during their time in space. Spacewalk training takes up a significant amount of an astronaut’s training because, according to Morgan, it is “one of the most dangerous things that we do.”

Morgan on a stationary bike4. Starting this week, NASA has given Morgan time to spend with his family. During this week, he will work on packing up anything he intends to bring with him to space, and get anything else in order before his extended stay aboard the ISS.

5. The second week of June, Morgan will leave for Russia for his final trainings, including a training aboard the Soyuz rocket that he will be taking into space. His time in Russia will span about three weeks and include final exams and several days of ceremonial events in Moscow and Star City.

6. At the beginning of July, Morgan and his fellow astronauts and cosmonauts will fly down to Baikonur, Kazakhstan, to be quarantined for about two weeks prior to launch. Astronauts use this quarantine time to review for the mission and gather their thoughts about the upcoming trip. This time is essential to make sure that those boarding the Soyuz avoid catching any illnesses before their flight.

7. On July 20th – the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch, U.S. astronaut Army Col. (Dr.) Andrew Morgan, along with Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, will launch to the International Space Station.

Follow Morgan's progress on social media:
@AstroDrewMorgan