NASA astronaut visits Team Buckley

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Stephen Eigel
  • 460th Space Wing Public Affairs

Col. Michael S. Hopkins, Air Force National Aeronautics Space Agency astronaut, visited Buckley Air Force Base, Jan. 8, 2018, in order to help build the bonds within Air Force Space Command as well as invite Airmen to apply for the next selection in the future.

“Usually astronauts are selected out of a flight test program but I am hoping to change that,” Hopkins said.

“The other branches have selected special operations members and submariners, I am here to let people know that we are trying to look outside of flight test programs and I think that space operators are a good place to look,” he added.

Hopkins spent time with Team Buckley leadership as well as talked to Airmen and families about his time on the International Space Station. He also made time to tour the 460th Operations Group to learn about the mission of missile warning as well as speak to a group of first graders at Edna and John W. Mosely P-8 Aurora Public School.

Meeting Col. Hopkins was an inspiring experience for the 1st grade students at Mosley,” said Carrie Clark, Edna and John W. Mosely P-8 Aurora Public School principal. “They loved seeing and learning firsthand from astronaut Co. Hopkins about outer space experiences and the dedication it takes to become an astronaut.  Our students will remember this experience for many years to come!

He was selected by NASA as an astronaut in 2009 as one of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class. He graduated from Astronaut Candidate Training in Nov. 2011, which included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in International Space Station systems, spacewalks, robotics, physiological training, T-38 flight training and water and wilderness survival training.

The Missouri native was member of the Expedition 37/38 crew and has logged 166 days in space. He launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan to the ISS Sept. 2013. During his stay aboard the station, he conducted two spacewalks totaling 12 hours and 58 minutes to change out a degraded pump module. Now Hopkins currently supports International Space Station Operations at the Johnson Space Center.

“I hope that we can create a bond here,” said Hopkins. “Long after I am gone and there are new astronauts and commanders here, I hope that they can get together and continue this relationship because our missions go hand in hand and I would like to see someone from AFSPC in space one day.”