A crew of astronauts, including southern Missouri native Mike Hopkins, is getting settled in aboard the International Space Station (ISS). They lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on November 15 and are spending the next six months in space.

Missouri astronaut Mike Hopkins and crew

The crew is part of the first manned operational space flight of a U.S. commercial shuttle. The space mission marks the second one for Hopkins.

During an update with NASA, Hopkins, the commander, talks about the rocket’s name – “Resilience.”

“It’s been a tough year and the fact that SpaceX and NASA were able to get our spacecraft ready to go – the rocket ready to go – throughout this year, throughout the pandemic and all of that, we were inspired by everybody’s efforts to do that. So that’s why we named it Resilience and we hope that it puts a smile to peoples’ face – it brings hope to them,” says Hopkins.

He says a longstanding astronaut tradition is to take along a sidekick to space and show viewers at home. Their choice seems appropriate given their location.

“We had just started watching the (Star Wars) series and it’s hard not to like baby Yoda,” says Hopkins. “I think the ride into space was probably a little rougher than baby Yoda was used to.”

The space station spans the area of an American football field and weighs more than 861,000 lbs. The complex has more livable room than a five-bedroom home, with two bathrooms, a gym and a 360-degree bay window.

Hopkins grew up in southern Missouri’s Richland near Fort Leonard Wood. He also has family in the Lake of the Ozarks area in central Missouri.

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