Mo. native on a trip out of this world - literally

Richland, Mo. - A Richland, Mo., native is moving far, far away, and the place he is going is out of this world - literally.

Air Force Colonel Mike Hopkins is a NASA astronaut who is scheduled to travel to the International Space Station with Russian and European astronauts.

The launch is scheduled on Sept. 25 in Kazakhstan.

He will be stationed at the orbiting outpost for six months

Hopkins grew up attending the small School of the Osage south of Lake Ozark, Mo., and graduated as valedictorian.

He has been training for this since 2009, but his nervous mom told 41 Action News he has been dreaming about the rocket ride since high school.

Barbara Duffy said she always believed her son could be anything he wanted to be.

"At that point, there are hopes and dreams," she said. "I never felt like there was a lid at all on anything he wanted to do. He always put mind to something, and he accomplished it."

Hopkins and the crew will conduct several hundred experiments that cross fields of biology, physical and earth science.

He is scheduled to return home to his wife and two children in March 2014.

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