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  • Alumnus Hopkins talks about being an astronaut

    Astronaut and U. of I. alumnus Michael S. Hopkins

    Research with gravity
    Astronaut and U. of I. alumnus Michael S. Hopkins wasn't just along for the ride during his 166 days aboard the International Space Station. Here Hopkins works in the station's Kibo laboratory conducting a session with a pair of bowling-ball-sized free-flying satellites known as Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES. Surrounding the two SPHERES mini-satellites is ring-shaped hardware known as the Resonant Inductive Near-field General System, or RINGS. The two components, when combined, are used to demonstrate wireless power transfer between satellites at a distance for enhanced operations. 

    Photo courtesy NASA

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