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Drew Morgan will likely never forget where he was on July 20 — not because it was the day that humans first landed on the moon, but because it was his first launch into space.
The 43-year-old NASA astronaut lifted off with cosmonaut Aleksandr Skvortsov, 53, of Russia's space agency Roscosmos and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano, 42, on Saturday (July 20), 50 years to the day after Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin touched down at Tranquility Base.
Morgan - Crewmates - International - Space - Station
Morgan and his two experienced crewmates are bound for the International Space Station, where they plan, in part, to contribute to research supporting the return of humans to the moon in the near future.
"It is an enormous honor for us, the crew of Soyuz MS-13, as well as Expedition 60, to commemorate this historic occasion by launching an international crew to the International Space Station. It really is a beautiful symbol of cooperation and progress," Morgan told reporters on Friday (July 19), the day before he, Skvortsov and Parmitano embarked at 12:28 p.m. EDT (1628 GMT or 9:28 p.m. local time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. "Fifty years to the day Apollo 11 landed on the surface of the moon, it was an accomplishment for all humankind, and we're just proud to be participating in that way."
Coincidence - Parmitano - Mechanics - Fact - Day
"It is an amazing coincidence," added Parmitano. "We have to thank orbital mechanics for the fact that we are launching on such a special day. Obviously, we do feel lucky and privileged that we can celebrate this event in such a glorious way."
Soyuz MS-13 crew members Aleksandr Skvortsov, Drew Morgan and Luca Parmitano wave from the base of their Soyuz rocket prior to boarding the vehicle on July 20, 2019.
Soyuz - MS-13 - Crew
Following a four-orbit rendezvous, the Soyuz MS-13 crew is scheduled to arrive at...
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