ATLANTA — Two Fridays ago, Atlanta native and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough took off for space with the SpaceX Crew-2.
His team of astronauts will be at the International Space Station for the next six months, and that’s where he chatted long-distance over Skype with 11Alive’s Matt Pearl.
There is a bird's eye view of Atlanta , and then there’s an orbit’s eye view of the planet, and what Shane Kimbrough sees is a giant window to our world.
“The planet is absolutely stunning. What we don’t see up here is borders. Up here, it’s just all one planet, and it’s a pretty cool perspective to have,” Kimbrough said.
On Kimbrough’s Twitter feed are snapshots of Egypt and Mozambique. In his free time, he’s Earth gazing. All other times, the Atlanta native and Georgia Tech alum is conducting hundreds of experiments aboard the International Space Station.
“We won’t know the results of a lot of those for several years, but what we do know is that the work we do will be impactful for all of humanity as well as future exploration,” Kimbrough said.
Kimbrough is nearly two weeks into his third trip to space. He’s working not just with NASA, but astronauts from Japanese and European space agencies, as well as the private company SpaceX, who’s commanding the flight.
“SpaceX is gonna fly private citizens here as soon as this fall, so as they make procedures and everything, we want to make things very clear for the professional astronauts and the non-professional astronauts,” Kimbrough said.
The idea of private citizen space travel may seem as distant as the ships themselves. Liftoffs still look like a Marvel movie.
It’s still a thrill to watch microphones and those holding them hang in the air, but as we wait for our world to extend to space, Kimbrough continues to bring pieces of his: pieces of Atlanta.
“Atlanta’s home. Every time we go back there, it just feels right. Take care, Atlanta,” he said.