Oct 28, 2016 | Atlanta, GA
For the second time this year, a Georgia Tech alumnus is the commander of the International Space Station (ISS). Shane Kimbrough (M.S. Operations Research 1998) assumed command of the station during a ceremony Friday afternoon. He replaces Russia’s Anatoly Ivanishin, who leaves the ISS Saturday night with American Kate Rubins and Japan’s Takuyu Onishi.
Tim Kopra (M.S. Aerospace Engineering 1995) was commander of the station earlier this year (February – June).
Kimbrough and two Russian cosmonauts arrived at the ISS last Friday for a four-month mission that is scheduled to end in late February. His first week has included a docking and his first science experiments.
A cargo ship arrived at the ISS this past Sunday after a six-day flight from Virginia. Kimbrough and the crew have been busy unpacking more than 5,100 pounds of supplies and science gear.
Kimbrough is also growing lettuce. On Tuesday he planted the first batch of plant pillows, which are pouches of fertilizer, seeds and a growth medium. The crew is growing the red romaine lettuce because future manned missions to Mars will require astronauts to produce their own food. There will be four harvests during the next two months.
Kimbrough and crewmates Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko will be alone on the station for the next few weeks before the next three-person crew arrives in mid-November.
Georgia Tech has produced 14 astronauts, tied for second-most among public universities. They include John Young (B.S. Aerospace Engineering 1952), who walked on the moon and was on the first space shuttle, and Sandy Magnus (Ph.D. Materials Science and Engineering 1996), who flew on the last one.
Get a video tour of the space station.