Missouri native to fly in key NASA, SpaceX mission

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On Saturday, NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, a native of Lebanon who grew up on a Richland-area farm, will command one of the first missions aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft as it carries U.S. and Japanese astronauts to the International Space Station. There they will remain in orbit over Earth for six months on a scientific mission.

NASA said the mission will be just the second crewed flight for the Crew Dragon, and for Hopkins, it will be his second long-duration mission aboard the International Space Station. In 2013, Hopkins launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and in total, he’s logged 166 days in space, NASA said.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 crew members are seen seated in the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft during crew equipment interface training. From left to right are NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, mission specialist; Victor Glover, pilot; and Mike Hopkins, Crew Dragon commander; and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, mission specialist.

“I remember getting up there and you’re just kind of pinching yourself,” Hopkins, a U.S. Space Force colonel, told the USA TODAY Network on Friday. “And then the sad thing is when you get back, it goes like that (snaps fingers) and now seven years later you’re sitting there going did I really go up there? Did that really happen?”

Last year:  Springfield science center director ‘over the moon’ to witness, share NASA launch

The Crew Dragon is intended to ferry astronauts round-trip between Earth and the space station. Along with another spacecraft, the Boeing Starliner, it is making it again possible to launch humans into space from U.S. soil, NASA said.

NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins is a Lebanon, Missouri native. In 2013 he journeyed to the International Space Station as flight engineer for Expedition 37. He will return to the station Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020.

The launch has a Springfield connection: The Discovery Center said Friday that in October, NASA asked the center’s executive director, Rob Blevins, to take part in a “prelaunch production” for the Crew Dragon astronauts. It is to be broadcast on NASA social media and NASA TV. The launch from Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center is currently set for 6:49 p.m. Central time on Saturday. 

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Editor is WebTech Group (WTG). WTG is a web hosting, design, SEO, press release distribution company and news agency located in St. Louis, Missouri. Site is owned and operate multiple news sites in the region. Our objective with STLNewsMissouri.com is to offer readers a one-stop news site for Missouri news. We aggregate news from news media across the state. We do not aggregate news from all sources. We pick from those that offer RSS feeds and pick the best with eliminating those that might produce the same news stories, written differently.
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