Pictured on the front row are Expedition 37 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin (left) and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov. Pictured from the left (back row) are Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg, Luca Parmitano, Michael Hopkins and Sergey Ryazanskiy. Photo credit: NASA

Pictured on the front row are Expedition 37 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin (left) and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov. Pictured from the left (back row) are Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg, Luca Parmitano, Michael Hopkins and Sergey Ryazanskiy. Photo credit: NASA

Three new crew members of the International Space Station will launch from Kazakhstan next week. The shuttle will carry two Russian Cosmonauts, Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy. American Astronaut Michael Hopkins, 44, will also be aboard.

Hopkins was born in Lebanon, Missouri. He grew up near Richland. His mother and stepfather, Barbara and Dennis Duffy, currently reside in Camdenton. His stepmother, Paula Hertwig Hopkins, is the City Manager of Warrensburg.

Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with Hertwig Hopkins:

Paula Hertwig Hopkins

Hertwig Hopkins will travel to Kazakhstan this week for the launch, which is scheduled for September 25th. “He’s part of my life…and his children, and his wife, and his brother Allen, and Jacob, and another daughter that lives at the Lake,” said Hopkins, “And he’s an example of an individual that decided very early on in his life what his dream was, and we can’t all lay claim to that. Decided what it was, and went after it, and wasn’t wasn’t always sure that it was going to be achievable, but he went at it very purposefully.”

Michael Hopkins has been working very hard to achieve this goal for years now. “I’m just really proud to be part of his life, and be going to see this launch. And I pray for his safety, too.”

Michael Hopkins now lives with his wife and two sons in Texas. He will spend the next six months aboard the International Space Station. His profile can be found at NASA.gov.