School of the Osage has graduated some of the brightest minds in the state over the years, and one of those success stories will make international history Wedn when he rockets into space.
Mike Hopkins, a 1987 OHS graduate, will join two Russian cosmonauts as they blast off from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, aboard a Soyuz spacecraft for the International Space Station some 220 miles above Earth.
The Russian spacecraft is scheduled to lift off at 3:58 p.m. with Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency. Hopkins and his crewmates will live aboard the ISS for six months, returning to earth in late March 2014. Hopkins will serve as flight engineer for ISS Expedition 38. He will oversee several physical and scientific experiments, maintain the facility and work out to remain fit.
School of the Osage High School will be celebrating the launch with several activities.
OHS will be hosting an assembly with fellow NASA astronaut Scott Tingle, Captain - US Navy, on the launch date. Tingle will be visiting the campus of OHS where he will present a lecture to students on current NASA information and will take part in a question and answer session for students. He will provide a personal narrative during the launch.
Hopkins is a colonel in the U.S. Air Force and a member of the 2009 astronaut class.
OHS Principal Mike Williams has taken a special interest in the ISS and Hopkin’s role as he texts and speaks regularly with crewmembers on the ISS.
Hopkins was born in Lebanon, and grew up on a farm outside of Richland. He and his wife, Julie, of Peoria, Ill., have two sons.
His mother and stepfather, Barbara and Dennis Duffy, live in Camdenton, Barbara is a former School of the Osage teacher. His father, Ogle Hopkins, is deceased and his stepmother, Paula Hertwig Hopkins, lives in Warrensburg.
After graduating from OHS, Hopkins went on to receive a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Illinois where he became captain of the 1991 Illini football team. He also received a master of science degree in engineering from Stanford (California) University, which has an acceptance rate of only 6.6 percent of the applicants.
Hopkins was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force in January 1992. In April 1993, he was assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, N.M., where he worked on advanced space system technologies. In 1996, he attended the flight test engineering course at the USAF Test Pilot School, Edwards Air Force Base, California.
In 2008, Hopkins was selected as a special assistant to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he worked until he commenced astronaut training.
Page 2 of 2 - Hopkins was selected in July 2009 as one of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class. He recently graduated from Astronaut Candidate Training, which included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in International Space Station (ISS) systems, Extravehicular Activity (EVA), robotics, physiological training, T-38 flight training and water and wilderness survival training.