On Friday, Shane Kimbrough will set foot in the International Space Station. It’s a long way from this Smyrna native’s home, but is the realization of a lifelong dream.

The West Point and Georgia Tech grad launched from Kazakhstan early Wednesday morning and will arrive at the space station on Friday.

Kimbrough will be aboard the spacecraft with two Russian cosmonauts. During the four month mission he will conduct science experiments and will do two space walks.

Kimbrough says he already misses his wife and three children in Houston, Texas. His twin daughters are in their freshman year of college and his son is a high school junior.

Kimbrough flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor in 2008 for 16 days, a mere warm up for this mission.
“A lot of the experiments will be done on our bodies,” he said. “For instance, we’re going to look at mini-exercise devices. In order to get to places like Mars, we’ll need to develop really small things to put in capsules. I’m one of the first people to get to try them."

Kimbrough’s life for the next four months will be 210 miles above earth, in an orbiting lab that moves at 17,000.

As for homesickness, Kimbrough is bringing a flag that waved on the Ramblin’ Wreck. He’s also taking a camera and plans to snap photos of Georgia Tech and other schools he attended.

“I’ll also have a few Tech football games piped up to the station. That will keep me going.”

(You can follow Kimbrough on Twitter and Instagram @astro_kimbrough)

Georgia Tech has produced 14 astronauts, tied for second-most among public universities