Purdue alum, astronaut receives honorary doctorate in space

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels connects with Purdue alumni astronauts Scott Tingle, left, and Andrew Feustel, who are aboard the International Space Station some 250-plus miles above Earth. Tingle performed the hooding for Feustel as he received his honorary Doctor of Science degree. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood)

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION – Purdue connected live to the International Space Station to award astronaut and alum Andrew “Drew” Feustel an honorary doctorate during its spring commencement ceremonies.

Currently stationed aboard the ISS, Feustel was able to connect live to campus during the ceremony.

“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. 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,” President Daniels said.

He has spent a total of 80 days in space, including 51 days in space on this, his third mission, and has conducted seven spacewalks totaling 48 hours and 28 minutes of spacewalking time. His eighth spacewalk is planned for Wednesday.

Feustel earned a bachelor’s degree in solid earth sciences from the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences in the College of Science and a master’s degree in geophysics from Purdue.

He is scheduled to return to Earth in October.

Purdue, known as the Cradle of Astronauts, has graduated 24 NASA astronauts. By the end of 2018, Purdue astronauts will have spent the equivalent of more than 1,100 days in space.