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NASA Astronaut Talks To U Of I Students From Orbit

Mike Hopkins

Astronaut Mike Hopkins, who graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, speaks to U of I students from aboard the International Space Station. He speaks to students on Oct. 29, 2013 through a video feed transmitted to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. (Sean Powers/WILL)

A NASA astronaut who graduated from the University of Illinois spoke to U of I students on Tuesday from orbit.

Students waited in a packed lecture hall at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications on the Urbana campus as NASA tried to connect one of its own, Mike Hopkins, through a live video feed.

“University of Illinois, this is mission control Houston, please call station for a voice check,” a NASA operator said.

“University of Illinois, fighting Illini, I hear you loud and clear, and I’m ready to answer some questions,” Hopkins replied a few moments later, appearing on a large video screen.

Hopkins is docked at the International Space Station, up to 286 miles above the earth’s surface. He spent about 10 minutes talking to students and taking questions. He said he wants the space program to expand its reach.

“If we’re looking at going further out into the universe, then we need to do that somewhat independently, and so as you start to look at all of the technologies, I think that’s one area that we need to focus on,” he said. “Being able to be a little more autonomous, a little more reliable and a crew on board being able to operate them without as much help from the ground.”

U of I Aerospace Engineering Student Robert Kaminski went to see Hopkins speak, and he also wants to go up into space.

“It’s been one of my life goals ever since I was a kid,” Kaminski said. “You have this little bastion of life and humanity that’s kind of our future. You know it’s like our small steps into becoming this interplanetary, intergalactic species. It’s pretty cool.”

That is a journey that will last until next March for Mike Hopkins.

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    yeah I going into space is everything that was absolutely incredible experience
    little things like that what its like the floating all about that you can’t really train for need to know what is going to be like
    but the absolutely amazing Mike you spend 6 months aboard the International Space Station
    Space Station why were you there and what you learn yeah you know what are the primary objective of the International Space
    baystation is as a science an orbiting Science Laboratory in so that sell what were they
    200 experiments ranging from we’re the guinea pigs


    microgravity environment others were more involved
    where is behavior in microgravity
    vassals to an alpha magnetic spectrometer the top and looking for the orange
    the origins of the universe and so does the range of experiments was was amazing are the different types of
    types of things were looking at the end really just the incredible to be a part of that
    special the plan was the focus more on deep space exploration 90 America National
    install go up into space do NASA partnership with Russia what what does it increase focus on depo


    deep space exploration mean for astronauts will it turn has a lot of the
    the focus of we are going to go beyond lower Thor between really need to understand
    again how the human body reacts to add a micrograph the environment
    example and what’s going to be like for us when we win we spend
    we spend a year getting their to become an at the Inn at 11:03 deuce gravity
    gravity from from Earth estilo another environment where you’re in gravity Gannon
    the planet we want to be able to be in the right shape when we get there and soda


    Sylvester Stallone the human side and systems and everything else that we need to understand better if I were going to
    Mickey strips to to other planets with moons are asteroids
    when the night States and Russia I’m wondering if that
    that tension is cause any problems with Nas relationship with Russia
    can talk about what’s happening at that the I guess it the headquarters level but certainly
    from my perspective of the International Space Station working with my Russian college
    working with the people on the ground really didn’t see any impact on that we have


    we have a mission to do we have agreements in place that allows to do that dance
    Ellen and also on the personal level e unit always just fine so we didn’t see the same kind
    same kind of tension set that you might see at the at the political are the at the night
    the federal government level literacy in right now you graduate from the University of Illinois Urbana
    which is where im based and you have been closely involved with students
    infact USC spoke to students while you’re up in space what do you want them to take away from your
    from your experiences really I think it’s highlights just tell incredible


    University of Illinois is the reason I have this wonderful opportunity
    no small part is because of the universe Illinois students out there their they’re being given
    being given an opportunity and they need to take advantage of that because it again
    not going to get a better education anywhere in the world end in so that’s a great stepping stone
    installing for their future their careers what’s next for you well I get it
    22 gravity rehab reconditioning I going out insurance
    ensuring the story of my experience a little bit so I’m looking forward to all of that and also a man join in


    Mike Hopkins thank you for talking to me you better on