NASA Astronaut who considers New Castle home ready for trip to I - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

NASA Astronaut who considers New Castle home ready for trip to ISS

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HOUSTON, Texas -

In just three months, another crew of astronauts will head to the International Space Station. Representing NASA on that voyage will be Dr. and Lt. Col. Andrew Morgan. 

21 News Anchor Derek Steyer first profiled Morgan, who considers New Castle his home, last year. Friday, they talked via FaceTime about the upcoming mission.

"I'm spending a lot of time trying to stay connected with my family and make sure that just personal things are taken care of around the home, make sure I'm neat and tidy when I leave and make sure the family is all tucked in and make sure they are comfortable with the situation," said Morgan. 

Morgan will soon head to Russia for final preparations and then launch with two other crewmates from Kazakhstan on July 20th. That will be the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. 

Morgan will be the first Army Medical Corp Officer launched into space. His stay was initially six months, but recently extended an extra three months by NASA.

A great honor to fly in space at all and an even greater honor that NASA and the ISS program, have confidence in me and my selection classmate astronaut Christina Koch who will be staying on for almost a full year. For us to stay longer, for our rookie flights, that's quite an honor, quite a vote of confidence," said Morgan. 

Morgan says the extended mission will help scientists study the effects of long duration human space flight. 

"This allows us to study the human body for longer periods of time as we prepare to go out into the universe, out to the Moon, to go to Mars. Those missions will last anywhere from a year, two and a half years we think maybe a mission to Mars will be a two and a half hour round trip, so, we need to understand how the human body reacts in that environment and the longer we spend on the ISS is a great test bed to explore that," he said. 

 Over the course of the mission, Morgan and his crewmates will take part in about 250 research investigations, demonstrations and experiments. 

"The one's that are personally interesting to me with my medical background are the one's where we are actually the subject of the experiment and there are a number of those that I'm participating in, ranging from neuroscience and how fluids shift in the body. I have a professional interest as a physician in ultrasound and using ultrasound as imaging and several of the studies that I'm participating in will also incorporate ultrasound as an imaging modality to look at the heart and our vessels and skin and muscles to see how they change under the effects of micro-gravity," said Morgan.

What Morgan says he's looking forward to most though, is sharing the experience with people on Earth, including all the friends and family in the Shenango Valley. 

"It's a special place and so when I go to space, I'm taking little bit of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania and that whole New Castle area with me so it's important to share this experience with all of them," he said. 

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