Astronauts Blast Off to Middle East

By American300 Public Affairs - Mike Lane 

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO & HOUSTON, TX–November 28, 2014–NASA Astronauts, Dr. Steve Swanson and Colonel Mike Hopkins (USAF), will visit members of the US Armed Forces during the Department of Defense’s Armed Forces Entertainment American Astronaut Tour to undisclosed bases across the Middle East. 

“As these Astronauts will tell you, there is an enormous sense of pride representing your country and relying on so many members of the Armed Service to keep you safe during your missions,” said Daniel Cook of Armed Forces Entertainment. “That same sense of pride is what drives the troops of the United States daily and to bring these two teams together will be a real treat.”

With stops at undisclosed bases across the Middle East, NASA Astronauts Swanson and Hopkins along with American300 founder Robi Powers are expected to deploy before the New Year and troops can expect personal interaction with the astronauts as well as ask questions about their missions and experiences in space and on Earth.

“It’s a mission concept we’ve been implementing for years now, putting amazing mentors like Swanny and Hopper with units in isolated and remote locations,” says Powers who along with Mike Lane and a team of volunteers conduct dozens of these tours per year. 

Steve Swanson recently returned from the International Space Station during Expedition 39/40, where he served as commander. During his third trip in space, Swanson flew for 169 days, orbiting the Earth 2,704 times at an altitude of 250 statute miles and traveling more than 71 million miles at 17,500 mph. Swanson lit up social media with the first selfie in space when he snapped his image in the ISS copula upon arrival during Expedition 39 in March 2014. In addition, he has completed four spacewalks totaling 26 hours, 22 minutes and accumulated 195 days, 15 hours, 41 minutes in space during his career.

“Having spent six months in space, I know the impact visitors can have on your attitude, outlook and health; having only received three new individuals while on station,” said Swanson. “I’m psyched to be able visit with so many folks’ sons and daughters during this tour. In fact, my son is currently deployed to Korea and I know someone is looking out for him just as I will be doing for your families.”

Col. Mike Hopkins was selected to the 20th NASA astronaut class in July 2009. On September 25, 2013, Hopkins launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan headed to the ISS as part of Expedition 37/38. During his stay aboard station, Hopkins conducted a pair of U.S. spacewalks for a total of 12 hours and 58 minutes.  He returned to Earth on March 10, 2014 after 166 days in space. During the expedition, the crew completed 2,656 orbits of the Earth and traveled more than 70 million miles.

“As an active duty Air Force Astronaut for the past five years, I’ve been a little out of touch with my fellow Airmen,” commented Hopkins. “These tours have given me an opportunity to reconnect, share my story and incredible experience of flying in space while also hearing about the amazing job service personnel are doing around the world.” 

For more information on these organizations, visit Armed Forces Entertainment, www.armedforcesentertainment; NASA, and American300,
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Armed Forces Entertainment is the lead Department of Defense agency for providing entertainment to U.S. military personnel serving overseas, with priority given to those in contingency operations and at remote and isolated locations. The Department of the Air Force is the executive agent of Armed Forces Entertainment. Founded in 1951, Armed Forces Entertainment brings a touch of home to more than 500,000 troops annually, embracing the best of Americana that stretches across all genres of entertainment. 

Headquartered in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, American300 is a nonprofit 501c3 non-government/all volunteer organization.  No federal endorsement of the nonprofit or sponsors is ever intended or implied -

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