Almost eight weeks. That’s how long NASA Astronaut Robert S. Kimbrough has been in space on his latest mission. As we all go about our holiday festivities, the Lovett School graduate (who goes by his middle name, Shane) is still looking at a little over two more months at the International Space Station (ISS) before heading back to Earth.
Kimbrough, who was born in Killeen, Texas, graduated from the The Lovett School in 1985. This top quality education laid the groundwork for his future academic and professional successes. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, and later returned to Atlanta to pursue a Master of Science degree in Operations Research from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1998.
Shortly thereafter, the now-retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel served in Operation Desert Storm with the 24th Infantry Division as an attack helicopter platoon leader. In 1994, he was assigned to the 229th Aviation Regiment at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where he commanded an Apache helicopter company. As a “jumpmaster,” he was responsible of all the other jumpers going out of the airplanes.
Next, combining his expertise from his studies with hands-on Army experience, Kimbrough joined NASA in 2000 as a Flight Simulation Engineer on the Shuttle Training Aircraft at Johnson Space Center. He was selected by NASA in 2004, and completed his first spaceflight in 2008 on STS-126, where he spent almost 16 days on the mission to expand the crew living quarters to accommodate a six-member crew.
5 Things about Shane Kimbrough
Kimbrough is currently assigned to the Expedition 49/50 mission. After launching on Oct. 19, his crew joined another crew at the ISS for Expedition 49. While Kimbrough and the crew are hard at work, the Lovett alumnae still took the time to vote in the 2016 Presidential election from space! According to NASA, “the six crew members will continue the several hundred experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science currently under way and scheduled to take place aboard humanity’s only orbiting lab.” Six weeks after their arrival, Expedition 50 began with Kimbrough as its commander. He will return to Earth with two fellow crew members on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in February.
When asked what he misses most during his time in space, coaching, playing and watching sports—college football, in particular—is high on the list. So, as you go about your holidays and tune in to your favorite team’s games, throw a little love up in the air for our hometown hero who is doing meaningful work and sacrificing family time with his wife and three kids for the greater good. You can follow Kimbrough’s adventures on Twitter @astro_kimbrough.