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In Their Own Words: Michael S. Hopkins
06.29.09
 
JSC2009-E-140635  ---  Michael S. Hopkins

Michael S. Hopkins, Lt. Colonel U.S. Air Force, of Alexandria, Va. has been selected as a member of NASA's 2009 Astronaut Class. Photo Credit: NASA
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When did you know that you wanted to become an astronaut?

In high school during my junior year.

What was it that inspired this goal and what steps did you take to get there?

I was inspired by watching the early successes of the Space Shuttle program during my time in high school. I pursued aerospace engineering degrees from the University of Illinois and Stanford, completed my private pilot's license, learned how to scuba dive, attended the USAF Test Pilot School as a flight test engineer, tried to do the best job I could throughout my career, and applied, applied, applied.

What was your reaction to hearing that you were selected?

I had just come back from a meeting in the Pentagon and I had a message at work to call Col. Steve Lindsey or Peggy Whitson. As soon as I heard the voice mail, my stomach started doing somersaults because I didn't know whether I had been selected or not. I had to walk around for a few minutes and prepare myself before I returned the call. This was the moment that I had been working toward since high school and it was hard to believe it had arrived. I called Col. Lindsey and when he asked if I wanted to change jobs and move to Houston, I was flooded with emotions: overwhelmed, shocked, thrilled, excited, humbled and thankful. My next reaction was that I needed to call my wife, who has been my biggest supporter as I've pursued this lifelong dream.

What are some of your hobbies, interests and special talents?

My “extracurricular activities” are raising two sons. Sports I enjoy include football, hockey, weight lifting and running. Other interests include reading, hiking, camping, outdoor activities and home renovations.