WASHINGTON, DC (WIVT/WBGH) – An Apalachin native is poised to receive the highest honor given to our country’s space explorers.

Owego Free Academy graduate Doug Hurley will receive the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, according to his brother Dean.

Despite the medal’s name, the President awards this medal based upon recommendations from the NASA Administrator.

It has been awarded to a very select group of astronauts, just 28 so far, with many of them honored for sacrificing their lives during NASA tragedies such as the shuttle explosions.

Hurley has taken a number of notable space flights in his career, including being the pilot on the final shuttle mission, Shuttle Atlantis, back in 2011.

Then, in 2020, he and fellow astronaut Bob Behnken flew on the Space-X Dragon capsule aboard a Falcon 9 rocket to visit the International Space Station.

That flight marked the first time a private company had sent humans into orbit, as well as the first time in nearly a decade that the US launched astronauts from US soil.

Hurley is scheduled to receive the Space Medal of Honor tomorrow afternoon from Vice President Kamala Harris.