On board the International Space Station, Andrew Feustel received an honorary doctorate from Purdue University.
Nate Chute, IndyStar

If ever there was a time to use the cliché "Shoot for the Stars" beginning ceremony Friday night as Purdue alumnus and NASA astronaut Andrew J. Feustel addresses Elliott Hall of Music from outer space.

Feustel, who has both a bachelor and master's degree from the university, was awarded an honorary doctorate for his achievements in science. As he hovered 220 miles above the crowd, his companion Boilermaker and astronaut Scott Tingle threw the golden and black hoods on dead body.

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After he had graduated, he turned to the crowd of future graduates.

"As the adventure unfolds, I hope you look back on Purdue, as I do, with good memories of the good times and challenges," said he. "You deserve the right to enter the stage, and I wish you all a chance to fly professionally and for some of you professionally between the stars."

The recognition of his alma mater meant much to the astronaut and his coworker, Indira, who graduated from Purdue with a master's degree in speech pathology. He came from a family of kettle smiths dating back to 1905. Feustel said Purdue was the only choice.

"It was the only university I applied for and now knew that this decision would change my life and get me on my way to the stars."

Feustel's wife, who took part in the ceremony here on Earth, said she was thrilled to be back on campus where she and her husband met when they were residential counselors.

"I know Drew and I know that he would like to be here with us all and then leave Harry is up for it," she said.

During his three voyages into space, Feustel spent 80 days in space and 48 hours in space.

The technology has progressed since its first mission in 2009, when it helped in the repair of Hubble Space's telescope. Now the Feustels have weekly family reunions with their two sons, Ari and Aden, via video calls and with daily phone calls and emails.

Purdue alumni have flown more than a third of all manned US flights, and Feustel is part of the elite class of 24 graduates to become astronauts.

His wife said she hoped graduates to realize at the ceremony what a unique and special opportunity not only to be in the "cradle of astronauts" like Purdue, but to hear Feustel speak from the International Space Station ,

"I hope this inspires everyone to think outside the box" "Think of all the screens we're on right now – we're always looking down, there's so much beauty, creativity and inspiration to follow look up. "

Drew Feustel Follow on Instagram and Twitter: @astro_feustel

Follow Indira Feustel on Instagram and Twitter: @indirafeustel

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