Minnesota Native Heading To Int'l Space Station

Minnesota Native Heading To Int'l Space Station

Minnesota Native Heading To Int'l Space Station

He will spend five-and-a-half months aboard the space station with an worldwide crew, comprised of two other Americans, two Russians and one Italian astronaut.

The three-person crew also took a small model of the Soviet-made Sputnik on board, commemorating the upcoming 60th anniversary of the first successful artificial satellite launch on October 4 1957. NASA says the astronauts will spend four months conducting investigations in the fields of biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences and technology development.

This is the third flight to space for the 50-year-old Acaba, who became the first person with Puerto Rican heritage to complete NASA's astronaut training in 2006.

The space station is the only permanently occupied laboratory in space. Rookie Vande Hei, 50, served with the United States army prior to training as an astronaut. Miskurkin, 39, also has a military background. Louis Park in 1985, and then earned his B.S.in physics from St. John's University in Collegeville in 1989. His parents, Thomas and Mary, live in Chanhassen.

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Vande Hei said he's happy to be part of a "peaceful endeavour that could actually help out all of humanity". Hei, who is also 50-years old, served with the USA army in Iraq before starting his career in NASA. "My attitude about that was that it would have been like saying I wanted to be Spider-Man", said Vande Hei in a video released by NASA prior to the launch.

Leaving the Space Station early this month were two Americans and a Russian. Whitson, 57, broke the USA record for cumulative time in space.

Whitson's 665 days off the planet - 288 days on this mission alone - exceeded that of any other American and any other woman worldwide.

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