Astronaut's friends, family ready to celebrate as he heads to space station

By Keith Garvin - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - While NASA and the entire nation are preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch on Tuesday, a group of neighbors, fellow church members and friends in Friendswood are making sure Col. Drew Morgan knows he's loved before he heads to the International Space Station on Saturday.

Morgan is a NASA astronaut who will be flying to the ISS aboard a Soyuz rocket launching from Kazakhstan.

Allison Swenson is the best friend of Morgan's wife. They met when the Morgans moved to Texas in 2013 -- when the colonel began his astronaut training.

"We get to see them, and do life with them, and see their journey at NASA over the last six years," Swenson said. "So to come to this moment of the launch is just, I mean mind-blowing."

Morgan is a West Point graduate and will serve as the mission's flight engineer.

KPRC 2 recently spoke to him about the nine-month assignment which includes three missions.

"I'll be a part of 60, 61, and 62. And they're all performing valuable science," Morgan said. "They're all performing valuable maintenance and spacewalks. And each one is a little bit unique from the other."

Despite being an astronaut, a surgeon and a former Army Ranger, all of Morgan's friends said he is as down to earth as a guy can get. But on Saturday, they'll be celebrating his journey to space with an out-of-this-world launch party in the neighborhood.

"It's kind of off-the-charts exciting that we're all gonna kind of just gather in the street in a few days and we're gonna watch like a buddy, a close friend of ours shoot into space," Aric Harding, a friend and pastor said. "Like, that's, that's awesome."

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