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Illini Grad Talks To U. Of I. Students From International Space Station

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URBANA, Ill. (AP) – University of Illinois graduate Mike Hopkins earned cheers from an audience at his alma mater when he spoke via NASA video hookup from the International Space Station.

“University of Illinois, Fighting Illini, I hear you loud and clear, and I’m ready to answer some questions,” Hopkins said, standing in front of an Illini flag in the space station on Tuesday.

Hopkins had 10 minutes to answer questions from Illini aerospace engineering students at the University of Illinois National Center for Supercomputing Applications. He is a 1991 engineering graduate and was co-captain of the Illini football team.

The News-Gazette reports that Hopkins has spent six months aboard the space station.

Students had to send in their questions ahead of time so Hopkins would be prepared to answer. They asked him about what he does at the space station, living in space and the future of space travel.

“The station is even more amazing than I ever thought it was going to be,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said his favorite thing to do in space is float.

“It doesn’t get old, even just in the middle of the work day as you go floating around from one module to another. It’s just fun,” Hopkins said.

Then he did a flip.

Sophomore Nick Fulton said he would like to be an astronaut and found Hopkins’ talk insightful.

“It was interesting to see his viewpoint and to talk to him while he was in space,” Fulton said.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)