Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 9/27/13
At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, there was “great success!” NASA astronaut and former Illinois Fighting Illini football player Michael Hopkins, along with Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy, launched into space Wednesday and reached the International Space Station early Thursday morning. Their journey to the station began with a 4:58 p.m. EDT liftoff. Hopkins played for the Illini from 1988-91. His teammates included Jeff George, former Atlanta Falcons DL Moe Gardner, and RB Keith Jones. As well as current Illini WR Coach Mike Bellamy. Hopkins received the Illini’s special teams player of the year award in 1989. That specific Illini team went 10-2, beating Virginia pretty soundly in the Citrus Bowl. Hopkins was part of a three-man crew that rode a Soyuz rocket for a mission named “Expedition 37.”  The astronauts will live aboard the orbiting laboratory until March 2014. Follow Twitter updates from NASA’s Expedition 37 astronauts, visit: @AstroKarenN @Astr...
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