An astronaut received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater in the most unlikely way: during a live feed aboard the International Space Station (ISS), which traveled 17,150 miles per hour around the planet.
NASA astronaut Andrew J. "Drew" Feustel took a brief break on his third space mission to receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Purdue University on May 11. Feustel showed up at the university inauguration ceremony with a camera aboard the station. He told the students how much the university in Lafayette, Indiana, benefited from a press release in the late 1
52-year-old ld astronaut from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, completed his message to students at one inspiring touch.
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"As the adventure unfolds, I hope you look back on Purdue as I do, with beautiful memories of the good and challenging times" he said, as his wife, Indira Feustel, watched in the audience. "You have earned the right to enter the stage, and I wish you the chance to fly professionally and for some of you professionally between the stars."
NASA astronaut Scott Tingle – also Purdue alum – laid a ceremonial on Feustel, who has two degrees from the university (a bachelor's degree in solid earth science and a master's degree in geophysics).
Purdue University President Mitch Daniels thanked Feustel for his efforts to promote space exploration, while referring to the Boilermakers, the university's athletic teams.
"Boilermakers are known for making giant leaps in favor of humanity, from Neil Armstrong's historic first step on the moon to today's plant scientists helping to feed the growing world population," said Daniels. "Drew Feustel's courage on behalf of our nation as he works to make the next giant leap in space exploration gives us all a lot to be proud of."
According to the press release, Feustel has spent a total of 80 days in space, 51 of which have completed his current mission. He also completed seven spacewalks for a total of 48 hours and 28 minutes of spacewalk, and will participate in his eighth spacewalk on Wednesday.
He will see his wife again when he returns to Earth in October.