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  • Kansan’s going up: International Space Station is astronaut’s destination

    Kansan’s going up: International Space Station is astronaut’s destination

    May 16, 2017

    From Read the full story here

    This spring, U.S. Air Force Col. Nick Hague got the news he had been waiting on for two years: He will join the ranks of Steve Hawley, Joe Engle and Ronald Evans as a Kansan to travel into outer space.

    Hague, who was selected by NASA as an astronaut in 2013 and completed training in 2015, is assigned to travel to the International Space Station in September 2018, NASA announced March 28.

    “It’s a six-month mission to the I.S.S.,” Hague said in a phone interview May 4.

    He will be a flight engineer for Expedition 57/58, which will launch from Russia aboard Soyuz 56S, according to a NASA biography.

    “It was really hard to believe,” he said of getting the news. “You wait for something, you work hard for something. I still have those ‘Pinch me’ moments now.”


    Hague was born in 1975 in Belleville and grew up in Hoxie, where he graduated from Hoxie High School in 1994. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in astronautical engineering, and he later received a master’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Hague said he always found the idea of space travel intriguing, and many experiences in his youth, including a field trip to the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, got him interested in becoming an astronaut.

    “The ultimate dream was to go explore space,” he said.

    He said the Apollo astronauts who made the moon landings were an inspiration, but added that his family and parents were crucial inspirations as well, teaching him the importance of persistence. And now he counts on his wife, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Catie Hague, and his two sons for support.

    He applied to become an astronaut for the first time in 2003. On his third application, in 2013, he was accepted.

    Required skills and training

    Hague said it is obvious that anyone who wants to become an astronaut needs to have considerable technical knowledge, but he said people might not realize how important the ability to work well with others and to handle stress is. The success of a mission is a whole-team effort, he said.

    Competing in athletics and participating in other group activities in his youth helped develop those teamwork skills, Hague said, and his Air Force career helped him take the next step.

    Hague said learning Russian – Russian Soyuz spacecraft are the only vehicles to send crew to the I.S.S. since the U.S. space shuttle program ended in 2011 – has been one of the more challenging parts of training for the assignment.

    In the meantime, Hague has been assisting NASA’s mission from the ground in the Space Station Operations branch supporting resource planning and operations. Hague said that involves lending an astronaut’s perspective in planning missions.

    As a flight engineer, Hague will conduct scientific experiments aboard the I.S.S. and help maintain the station.

    Lessons learned

    Hague said achieving his goals has been a step-by-step process, with failure along the way. The important thing has been picking himself back up and working again to reach his goals.

    He said the world can seem a long way from small-town Kansas, but he is proof that big dreams aren’t out of reach. He said achieving big dreams starts with knowing it won’t be easy and not letting that stop you.

    “Don’t give up,” he said. “Dream big and work hard.”

Upcoming Events

  • Early Closing of the Main Entrance and Lobby at 5 pm
    June 12 –
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  • Space Out Saturday: EROSION
    July 15
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  • Coffee at the Cosmo: Capturing the Elusive Solar Eclipse
    July 20
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  • Early Closing of the Main Entrance and Lobby at 5 pm

    Date: Monday, June 12, 2017

    The Cosmosphere's main entrance, naviGATOR simulator and lobby will be closing early to the General Public on Monday, June 12, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. for a private event. The Carey Digital Dome Theater shows after 5:00 pm will play as scheduled. The Hall of Space Museum and Gift Store are open until 7:00 pm. Please use the alternate entrance to the North of the main entrance, by the Richard E. Smith Science Center.

  • Space Out Saturday: EROSION

    Date: Saturday, July 15, 2017 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
    Location:Cosmosphere Lobby

    THIS MONTHS SUBJECT: EROSION! There is a lot of sand at the beach, where did it all come from? Learn about erosion and the different types of rock that break down to make sand. Make your own sand art creation from eroded rocks!

    Family day at the Cosmosphere with free programming for kids – from little tikes to middle school. Join us every third Saturday for our FREE kid-friendly, fun and educational Space Out Saturday! 

    10:00 am and 12:00 pm

    Open to all, recommended for ages 5-12
    Unique, fun, and educational experiences! Explore science, technology, engineering, and math with exciting hands-on demonstrations and activities.

    11:00 am

    Open to all ages
    Sing, dance, read and have a blast!

    1:00 pm

    Open to all, recommended for ages 5-12
    Adventures await! Take a special tour designed to inspire and engage our future astronauts and engineers. (*Hall of Space admission required. Reno County residents are FREE)


  • Coffee at the Cosmo: Capturing the Elusive Solar Eclipse

    Date: Thursday, July 20, 2017 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

    Offered every Third Thursday from 9:00 - 10:00 am, this enriching continuing education program for life-long learners features entertaining, insightful presentations by Cosmosphere staff and visiting professionals who are experts in a variety of topics related to science and space. Free to the public, coffee and pastries are provided. Watch for topics.

    Enjoy this free presentation on "Capturing the Elusive Solar Eclipse," with special guest speaker Martin Rattcliffe, writer and Planetarium astronomer.

    *Coffee at the Cosmo topics and speakers are subject to change.

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