NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough harvests fresh red romaine lettuce on the International Space Station as part of the Veggie investigation. The lettuce was soon consumed by crew members as part of their evening meal. Credits: NASA

Astronaut and Tech grad calls into Paul Johnson’s radio show

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson’s radio show had an unlikely caller to his radio show Monday evening – NASA astronaut and Tech graduate Shane Kimbrough.

Kimbrough called from Kazakhstan, where he is preparing for a Sept. 23 launch to the International Space Station. Kimbrough, who graduated from the Lovett School and then the U.S. Military Academy before earning a master’s degree in operations research from Tech, will be part of a six-member crew that will continue and perform several hundred science experiments during the 5 ½-month mission.

The call was prearranged. Kimbrough spoke with Johnson and Tech voice Andy Demetra for about three minutes about preparations for the launch and the mission itself.

“The main mission up there is to do a bunch of science and research to benefit everybody here on Earth,” Kimbrough said. “We’re really looking forward to that piece of it.”

Johnson had his own question for the retired Army colonel: “Do you get ESPN up there?”

Kimbrough, a sports fan, replied that some games are streamed up to the space station, usually a day late, and that the orbiting lab does receive one channel it can get live. Kimbrough also said he planned to bring some Tech paraphernalia to space.

Kimbrough is one of 14 Tech graduates who have been in space. He was previously aboard the space shuttle Endeavor in 2008. Tech fans looking for an omen will note that Kimbrough was in orbit for two of the biggest wins of Johnson’s tenure – over Miami and Georgia.

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