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Illinois Football alum Mike Hopkins is on his way to the International Space Station

Good luck up there, Mike!

SpaceX And NASA Launches Crew Dragon Capsule With Four Astronauts To The International Space Station Photo by Red Huber/Getty Images

If you were watching the historic SpaceX/NASA launch on Sunday night, you probably didn’t realize you were watching an Illini alum.

Astronaut — and former Illinois defensive back — Mike Hopkins is captaining the crew headed to the International Space Station.

Hopkins, 51, graduated from Illinois with a degree in aerospace engineering in 1991. He also played for the football team during his time in Champaign.

As he called today, IT’S GAMEDAY!

The launch was scheduled for Saturday night but delayed due to high winds. That gave him a chance to watch the Illini beat Rutgers.

Sunday’s launch was successful. The crew is scheduled to reach the International Space Station early Monday morning and then will spend six months up there. Congrats to one of our coolest alums!