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NASA Astronaut On Board The International Space Station Receives Degree From Purdue

May 12, 2018 11:10 AM EDT
Purdue University
Purdue University President Mitch Daniels connects via a live downlink with Purdue alumni astronauts Scott Tingle, left, and Andrew Feustel, who are aboard the International Space Station more than 250 miles above Earth. Tingle performed the hooding for Feustel as he received his honorary Doctor of Science degree.
(Photo : Purdue University photo | John Underwood)

NASA astronaut Andrew Feustel is awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater Purdue University, which he accepted from the International Space Station.

Even though he is in orbit, Feustel became a part of the commencement ceremony of the university. Currently stationed on the ISS, the recipient attended the spring commencement ceremony and received his honorary degree through live streaming on Friday, May 11.

Feustel's Purdue Recognition

According to a press release from Purdue University, instead of the dean placing the ceremonial hood on Feustel as tradition dictates, fellow Purdue alum and NASA astronaut Scott Tingle did the honors on the ISS.

Ahead of the ceremony, Patrick J. Wolfe, the Frederick L. Hovde Dean of Science and Miller Family Professor of Statistics, praised the astronaut for his contributions to the university and beyond.

"Drew is an outstanding geoscientist, giving him a unique perspective in viewing Earth from space," Wolfe says in a separate release. "His exceptional contributions to science and to our nation are an inspiration to future generations of scientists, and to Boilermakers everywhere. We couldn't be prouder of his achievements, and to claim him as one of our own."

Feustel is a Purdue University alum with a bachelor's degree in solid earth sciences and a master's degree in geophysics.

As part of NASA, he has participated in three spaceflights with a current assignment aboard the ISS working on around 250 science investigations.

Feustel has also been on seven spacewalks with his eighth and ninth scheduled on May 16 and 30, according to a recent report. Each of the upcoming spacewalks will be six and a half hours. He will be alongside fellow Expedition 55 Flight Engineer Ricky Arnold.

Feustel is set to return to Earth in October.

The Cradle Of Astronauts

Purdue University is known as the "Cradle of Astronauts," being the alma mater of a total of 24 NASA astronauts, including Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

"Boilermakers are known for making Giant Leaps for the benefit of humankind, from Neil Armstrong's historic first step on the moon to today's plant scientists helping feed the world's growing population," Purdue president Mitch Daniels says during the graduation ceremony in the Elliot Hall of Music. "Drew Feustel's courage on behalf of our nation as he works to make the next Giant Leap in space science and exploration gives us all much to be proud of."

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