Michael S. Hopkins

Michael Scott Hopkins (born December 28, 1968) is a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, and a current NASA astronaut.[1] Hopkins was selected in June 2009 as a member of the NASA Astronaut Group 20. He made his first spaceflight as a Flight Engineer on Soyuz TMA-10M/Expedition 37/Expedition 38, from September 2013 until March 2014. He was the first member of his astronaut class to fly in space.[2] As well as being the first member of his class to fly in space, he is set to become the first member of his class to return to space in 2019 as Commander of the first operational SpaceX Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station.

Michael S. Hopkins
Born (1968-12-28) December 28, 1968
Alma materUniversity of Illinois B.S. 1991
Stanford University M.S. 1992
OccupationSpecial assistant
Space career
NASA Astronaut
RankColonel, USAF
Time in space
166d 6h 27m
Selection2009 NASA Group
Total EVAs
Total EVA time
12 hours and 58 minutes
MissionsSoyuz TMA-10M (Expedition 37/38), USCV-1
Mission insignia


Early life and education

Michael Scott Hopkins was born on December 28, 1968 in Lebanon, Missouri but grew up on a farm in Richland, Missouri in a United Methodist family.[3] After graduating from the School of the Osage High School in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, in 1987, he entered the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While there he played defensive back for the Illinois Fighting Illini football team.[4] He graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. He followed his undergraduate studies with a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Stanford University, which he earned in 1992.

Military career

Hopkins was a member of Air Force ROTC while at the University of Illinois, where he was a distinguished graduate. After graduating with his bachelor's degree he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in January 1992. Early in his career he was stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico working on advanced space system technologies. In 1996, he attended the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School as a flight test engineer. He graduated in class 96B as a Distinguished graduate and top flight test engineer. Following test pilot school he was assigned to the 418th Flight Test Squadron testing the C-17 and C-130 aircraft. In 1999, he was sent to Canada on an exchange program. While there he lived in Cold Lake, Alberta working with the Canadian Flight Test Center. In 2002, he was selected as an Olmsted Scholar by the George and Carol Olmsted Foundation and was sent to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California studying foreign language. After six months of language training he was sent to Parma, Italy studying political science at the Università degli Studi di Parma. In 2005, Hopkins was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Rapid Capabilities Project Office at the Pentagon where he was a project engineer and program manager. Following this assignment, in 2008 he was assigned as a special assistant to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General James Cartwright. He was working with the Joint Chiefs when he was assigned to be an astronaut candidate.[5]

NASA career

Hopkins was selected by NASA and the U.S. Air Force to be an astronaut candidate and began training at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. After completing astronaut candidate training he was designated an astronaut in 2011.

Expedition 37/38

He launched on board the Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft in September 25, 2013 alongside Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazansky, which docked with the International Space Station (ISS) several hours later. Hopkins remained on board as a Flight Engineer on Expedition 37/Expedition 38 until March 10, 2014. During his time on the station, the crew conducted science experiments and maintenance.[2] Hopkins performed 2 space walks during his mission, including one on Christmas Eve. The EVA’s were performed to replace faulty ammonia pumps on the station that had caused problems in the past. Both EVA’s were performed with astronaut Rick Mastracchio and their combined duration was 12 hours and 58 minutes. While on board the ISS, Hopkins also took Holy Communion, after making special arrangements with James H. Kuczynski, the pastor of Mary Queen Catholic Church in Friendswood, Texas.[3]

Crew Dragon

In August 2018 Hopkins was assigned to fly on the first mission to the International Space Station on the SpaceX Crew Dragon as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Development Program.[6]

Personal life

Hopkins is married to the former Julie Stutz[7] and has two sons.[8] In 2013, Hopkins, formerly a communicant in the Methodist Church, was received into the Catholic Church, joining his wife and his children who are Catholics.

Awards and decorations

Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Force Achievement Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters
National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star
Air Force Training Ribbon


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. NASA HQ (June 29, 2009). "NASA Selects New Astronauts for Future Space Exploration". NASA. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
  2. "NASA And Partners Name Upcoming Space Station Crew Members". NASA. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
  3. Sadowski, Dennis (7 April 2016). "For Catholic astronauts, flying to space doesn't mean giving up the faith". Catholic News Service. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  4. Mumm, Susan (2009-07-14). "AE Alum Chosen for 2009 Astronaut Class". Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19.
  5. "In Their Own Words: Michael S. Hopkins". NASA. 2009-06-29.
  6. "NASA Assigns Crews to First Test Flights, Missions on Commercial Spacecraft". NASA. August 3, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
  7. Wood, Paul (2008-07-28). "NASA thinks former UI football player has right stuff". Urbana/Champaign News-Gazette.
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