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The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

NASA astronaut and UA alum visits campus

Courtesy of NASA
Hines training in a mock-up of the Crew Dragon spacecraft that was used during the SpaceX Crew-4 mission.

Col. Bob Hines, pilot and NASA astronaut, spoke to UA students and faculty Nov. 16 to conclude the College of Engineering’s Space Week.

Hines, a University alum, served as the pilot on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 for a recent mission to the International Space Station, which began in April 2022 and concluded in mid-October of the same year. 

After completing flight school in Mississippi and becoming an instructor, Hines decided to become a test pilot through the U.S. Air Force and apply for a master’s degree program to enhance his application.

“Alabama was the perfect answer for me,” Hines said. “I was right down the road, and it worked out really great for me.”

Hines graduated from the University in 2010 with a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering.

In 2017, Hines was asked to join NASA Astronaut Group 22 and began training for space travel. 

As a part of SpaceX Crew-4, Hines and the crew’s flight became one of the fastest, arriving at the ISS less than 16 hours after takeoff.

Hines discussed the challenges of NASA’s future plans for space exploration such as Artemis, a future crew mission to the moon, and the possibility of a mission to Mars.

Artemis is a future NASA mission with plans to establish the first long-term presence on the moon. 

“We need your creative minds to help us solve these challenges,” Hines said. “There are some amazing opportunities out there.”

Aidan Moncelle, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, was excited to attend the event. 

“I’m very passionate about space, so having the chance to hear more about an alumni of the school who has done amazing things with the space program was a really cool opportunity,” Moncelle said. 

Tru Livaudais, director of external affairs for the College of Engineering, helped plan the event. Livaudais said Hines’ attendance was a great opportunity for the college. 

“The timing of his arrival really puts us on the map, knowing that we are a serious player in the aerospace engineering space,” Livaudais said. 

Hines said being able to return to the University was special for him.

“To be able to come back and share some of the cool things I’ve gotten to do with students that are on the cusp of stepping out and doing their own amazing things is really special to me,” Hines said.

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