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.
Morgan is not your typical astronaut recruit. He went to West Point. He became a doctor. He volunteered for Army Special Forces. He served as the flight surgeon for the 3rd Special Forces group out of Fort Bragg. And when the highly publicized opportunity appeared in 2012 to apply for astronaut training, he applied like most of us do for new jobs: by filling out a boilerplate application online.
“When I applied, I figured, ‘There’s no chance I’m gonna get selected,’” Morgan told Task & Purpose in a recent interview, “because they had never selected an astronaut that looked like me.”