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Sunday, December 5, 2021

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Former Illinois Football star, NASA Astronaut Mike Hopkins shows Illini pride on Space Station

CHICAGO – Illinois alumni and United States Air Force colonel and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins showcased his pride for his alma mater during homecoming this weekend as the International Space Station (ISS) flew high above the Champaign-Urbana area.

Hopkins is a former Illinois football standout defensive back who helped lead the Illini to four consecutive bowl appearances from 1988-1991 and helped lead the Fighting Illini to a 1990 co-championship.  Hopkins joined the Illini as a walk-on in 1987 before later winning multiple awards with the program, including three-time Academic All-Big Ten selections.

ISS could be seen over the Champaign-Urbana area for only about two minutes Saturday night.  Hopkins currently serves as Commander on the Crew-1 SpaceX Crew Dragon, named Resilience, which launched in mid-November.  Hopkins earned his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering while at the University of Illinois.

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