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.
Astronauts flying aboard Crew Dragon’s first operational mission to the @space_station: Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi pic.twitter.com/2XEQFecczT— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 15, 2020
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!
Game day! https://t.co/HonEy61Io7— Mike Hopkins (@Astro_illini) November 15, 2020
The launch was scheduled for Saturday night but delayed due to high winds. That gave him a chance to watch the Illini beat Rutgers.
Another opportunity to watch college football.... https://t.co/5yooPux8iL— Mike Hopkins (@Astro_illini) November 14, 2020
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!