Shane Kimbrough may not be the highest-ranking U.S. veteran, but he’s definitely the highest, by virtue of his status as the International Space Station’s commander.
So it’s worth noting the reflections from the retired U.S. Army colonel in honor of Veterans Day, which is being celebrated on Friday:
“As I orbit the Earth at an altitude of 250 miles, I’m constantly in awe of the sight of our planet below,” he said in a video marking the occasion. “I’m equally awestruck by those brave Americans who served and who are currently serving around the world in the United States armed forces in the defense of our freedom.”
Kimbrough closed off the clip with a zero-G flip.
Kimbrough, who served as an Apache helicopter pilot during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, is currently the only American in space. He’s accompanied on the space station by two Russians, Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko. Three more astronauts – NASA’s Peggy Whitson, Russia’s Oleg Novitskiy and France’s Thomas Pesquet – are due to join them next week.
Also next week, two Chinese astronauts will wrap up their 30-day mission on the Tiangong 2 orbital lab and ride their Shenzhou 11 space capsule back down to Earth.
This week provides some good opportunities to watch the International Space Station zoom overhead. NASA recently reworked its “Spot the Station” website to provide an interactive map, customizable to your location. You can even sign up for email alerts.
NASA says more than 300,000 people use the website every day to track the station. So check it out, and watch the skies!