By Mike Lane, American300 Public Affairs, 8/15/14
Grand Forks, North Dakota - Hollywood blockbuster ‘Gravity’ starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney cast a bright light on the International Space Station (ISS). Complete with never ending jetpack propulsion, Olympic style vaulting from module to module and even fire extinguisher propelled maneuvers, viewers come away from the film with a real sense of micro gravity travel and the dangers of space debris.
For NASA Astronaut and Air Force Colonel Mike Hopkins, the timing of the film’s release couldn’t have been more appropriate. He viewed the film while aboard the ISS circling earth at seventeen thousand miles per hour this past winter.
Now back on terra firma, the Air Force Astronaut is dedicating time and energy in sharing his NASA and ISS experience.
“As an active duty Air Force Astronaut for the past five years, I’ve been a little out of touch with my fellow Airmen. This tour has given me an opportunity to reconnect with them. I’ve had the privilege of sharing my story and the incredible experience of flying in space while also hearing about the amazing job Air Force personnel are doing in isolated and remote locations right here at home,” said Colonel Hopkins. “American300 has made this tour about connecting me with Service Members who do the necessary behind the scenes work our nation depends on. From security forces defenders to maintainers and operators of our radar, communications, data and aircraft systems these folks are keeping our teams on the ISS safe while at the same time defending our country and it’s allies,” added Hopkins.
With stops at Cheyenne Mountain and Cavalier Air Force Stations along with Grand Forks Air Force Base, Hopkins and American300 founder Robi Powers have moved through workspaces and met Airmen across Colorado and North Dakota this week.
“It’s a personnel support concept we’ve been implementing for years now, by putting amazing mentors with units in support of our armed forces comprehensive service member fitness programs,” says Powers who along with a team of volunteers conduct several dozen of these tours per year.
As for space debris avoidance maneuvering, Colonel Hopkins adds, “We use Air Force Space Command tracking capabilities to maneuver the ISS out of harm’s way several times a year and to be afforded the opportunity to personally thank them for the work they do in protecting Astronauts and ISS missions is very special to me.”
If all goes as planned, Colonel Hopkins with join the current commander of the ISS, NASA Astronaut Steve Swanson on another military base tour later this year upon Swanson’s return to earth.
For more information on American300 programming visit: www.American300.org
To follow NASA visit: www.nasa.gov
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