UI alum to head to space

UI alum to head to space

A University of Illinois alumnus said his time at the school helped prepare him for his latest adventure:  heading to the international space station.

U.S. Air Force Colonel Mike Hopkins is the first of his graduating NASA class to head to space.  He'll do so in September of this year.

Hopkins received his bachelor's degree from the UI in 1992 in aerospace engineering.  He said his time at the UI helped form his values and his path to his first space mission.

Hopkins also said the opportunity to go on the trip that's being called Expedition 37 feels amazing and, at times, unreal.

Hopkins added that he and his crew will be doing some biological experiments while in space, such as the impact of acceleration on plant root growth.  He also said the crew might even have some ants sent up with them, saying it would be fun to have his own pets in space.

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