A U.S. Army astronaut has, for the first time on Wednesday, conducted a nationwide oath of enlistment from space.
Col. Andrew Morgan administered the oath of enlistment for nearly 1,000 new military recruits located at over 150 locations around the country, according to an Army press release. Morgan administered the oath of enlistment via live stream as he orbited 250 miles earth aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Morgan has been aboard the ISS since July 20, 2019. During his time aboard the station Morgan, a doctor with a Ranger tab and several years of experience in Special Forces, said he will have conducted 300 different science experiments with his crew over the course of his time aboard the ISS. Morgan has also conducted seven spacewalks since taking flight aboard the ISS. The first spacewalk, in August, lasted over six and a half hours.
The ISS station makes a full revolution around the Earth every 90 minutes and circles the planet 16 times a day. Morgan and the various recruitment locations timed the ceremony so that the ISS would be above the United States as the recruits swore their oath.
“Before I took this nine month journey to space as an astronaut, I was a soldier first,” the soldier turned astronaut said to the new recruits. “I made the decision when I was 18 years old to raise my right hand just like you’re about to. I am still a Soldier. I’m just serving in space on the ultimate high ground.”
The astronaut credited his advancement to join NASA and work aboard the ISS as a direct result of his service in the U.S. Army.
“Today marks the first day of the rest of your lives, and you will forever be changed by your decision to serve your country,” Morgan said, before leading recruits of the various military branches through the oath of enlistment.
Following the oath, Morgan took a few questions from the new recruits.
Asked how he handles challenges throughout his career, Morgan said to ignore the voice in your head that tries to convince you to quit.
“That is your signal that what you’re doing is worth doing,” he said. “You need to suppress that and drive on. I can’t stress that enough. Things that are worth doing are difficult.”
Morgan attended the U.S. Military Academy and was a member of its parachute team. He went on to attend medical school and then joined the Special Forces where, in the course of his time with the elite group, deployed in support of combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and in Africa.
Morgan said it was the difficult military experiences that prepared him for astronaut training and the challenges of being in space.