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MJ's Butch Wilmore will return to space

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Mt. Juliet native Barry "Butch" Wilmore

Mt. Juliet High graduate and NASA astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore will command the next crew to launch to the International Space Station.

Wilmore, a former football standout for the Golden Bears, will join cosmonauts Elena Serova and Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and launch to the space station September 25 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Wilmore went on to captain the football team at Tennessee Tech where he was later inducted into the Golden Eagle Sports Hall of Fame.

Wilmore, Serova, and Samokutyaev will serve as flight engineers for ISS Expedition 41 until November, at which time Wilmore will assume command of Expedition 42. The trio is scheduled to return to Earth in March 2015.

A captain in the US Navy, Wilmore grew up in Mt. Juliet and graduated from MJHS in the Class of 1981.

During his tenure as a fleet naval officer and pilot, Wilmore completed four operational deployments, flying the A-7E and FA‑18 aircraft. He has accumulated almost 7,000 flight hours and more than 600 carrier landings.

Wilmore joined NASA in 2000 and piloted the space shuttle Atlantis for STS-129 in November 2009. The mission delivered two ExPRESS logistics carriers and about 30,000 pounds of replacement parts to the space station. To date, Wilmore has 10 days, 19 hours, and 16 minutes of space flight to his credit.

Expedition 41 crew members will share their flight experiences on Instagram. Those interested can follow along on Instagram.

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