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The Lake News Online
  • Merry Christmas from Earth

  • One lake area family will be sending their holiday greetings to space. Literally. While Barbara and Denny Duffy of Camdenton will be celebrating the holidays here at home, Barbara's son, astronaut Mike Hopkins, will be orbiting the earth and possibly preparing for another space walk.
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  • One lake area family will be sending their holiday greetings to space. Literally. While Barbara and Denny Duffy of Camdenton will be celebrating the holidays here at home, Barbara's son, astronaut Mike Hopkins, will be orbiting the earth and possibly preparing for another space walk.
    While Hopkins' family enjoys the holidays on Earth, he will be celebrating from space.
    Hopkins blasted into space on Sept. 25 and has been stationed on the International Space Station ever since. Even though he will be without his family, Hopkins gets to embark on a new adventure this holiday season. He is one of the two astronauts taking part in the space walks to do repaid to the ISS.
    In order to replace a dysfunctional cooling pump module, NASA has ordered a series of spacewalks. The massive job could take up to three walks including one on Christmas day.
    Hopkins was chosen by station managers along with another American astronaut, Rick Mastracchio, to be involved in the spacewalks since the pump problem originated in the American component of the Space Station.
    Astronauts are trained in a pool in Houston to simulate a space walk.
    Hopkins' mother and other family members will be cheering him on from Earth while he is walking in space.
    "I'm very excited for him! This is what he's trained for. There are some worries, but I'm very confident," Duffy said. "I know in talking with him, he's very confident. They have back-up plans in place."
    Duffy plans on watching the spacewalks live on NASA TV. On Saturday, she woke up bright and early at 5:15 a.m. to make sure she didn't miss the 6:10 a.m. walk. Saturday's walk was a success.
    Following the walk, Hopkins tweeted from space "Wish I could find the words to describe the experience, truly amazing."
    The second walk was scheduled for Monday, but was postponed until Tuesday to fit Mastracchio with another space suit.
    Being without her son this holiday will not be easy, but knowing what he is doing could not make her more proud of him.
    "We will miss Mike very much this Christmas, but we join many other Americans who have loved ones in the military abroad, in just hoping that they all stay safe," Duffy said.
    Duffy and Hopkins' other family members will hopefully be able to communicate with him to wish him a Merry Christmas.
    For Duffy she hopes she is able to tell him, "Merry Christmas, Mike, for a Christmas that you'll never forget and just know that we all here on earth are hoping you will be looking at a successful "mission accomplished" in this upcoming week."
    Page 2 of 2 - From all of us here on Earth, Merry Christmas Hopper!
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