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NASA Astronaut: Conflicts With Russia Did Not Interfere With Space Mission

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(Duration: 3:29)

Michael Hopkins

Expedition 37 NASA Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins answers a reporter's question at a press conference held at the Cosmonaut Hotel, on Sept. 24, 2013, in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. (NASA)

A University of Illinois alumnus says tensions with Russia didn’t interfere with his recent mission to space.

NASA shut down its Space Shuttle program to focus on deep space exploration, but its astronauts can still get to orbit on Russian rockets.

Last week, NASA Astronaut Mike Hopkins returned to Earth with two Russian cosmonauts after spending six months on the International Space Station. He said everything went smoothly in space, despite conflicts between the two countries on the ground.

“We really didn’t see any impact on that,” Hopkins said. “We have a mission to do. We have agreements in place that allow us to do that, and also on the personal level it was all just fine. So, we didn’t see the same kind of tensions that you might see at the political or the federal government level that you’re seeing right now.”

While in space, Hopkins said he worked on more than 200 different experiments, like how the body reacts in an environment where there’s little gravity to exploring the origins of the universe. 

Hopkins graduated from the University of Illinois in 1991 with a degree in Aerospace Engineering.

Categories: Education, Science