When the space shuttle Endeavor soars into space next week some Logan Countians will be especially interested in the mission. That’s because they will have a relative on board.
Dawn Lehman Kopra, formerly of Lewisburg, and her parents, Betty and Charles Lehman of Lewisburg, will watch as Kopra’s husband, Tim Kopra, takes off on his first trip into space.
“It’s just unreal,” said Betty Lehman of the fact that her son-in-law will be on the next space shuttle mission. “You just can’t believe it.”
Lehman and her husband will travel to Cape Canaveral, Fla., next week to watch the launch which is scheduled for Saturday, June 13.
Dawn Lehman Kopra grew up in Lewisburg, attended Lewisburg School and graduated from Logan County High School in 1986. She met her husband while she was at Austin Peay and he was stationed at Ft. Campbell. The two married after she graduated and “from then on she’s been on the move,” Lehman said.
Dawn and Tim now live near Houston, Texas as he is stationed at NASA. Lehman said Tim, who is now a full colonel in the Army, has worked his way up to achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut.
“I think he’s wanted to do that since he was a little boy,” Lehman said.
Living a military life is not always easy, especially for a family. They’ve moved around a lot, spending three years in Germany. Sometimes Tim would be away for months at a time. For the last four years, he has trained to stay on the International Space Station which meant he had to spend a lot of time in Russia. Dawn, who works from home as a paralegal, manages the home and two children, ages 12 and 13, while Tim is away.
“She has supported him totally,” Lehman said. “She is very excited for him.
Tim will spend three months on the space station. Lehman, who has been in the space station mock up in Houston, said it is not very big and she can’t imagine spending three months there.
While he’s in space, Tim will be able to call the family and communicate with them on email and on ham radio. Both Tim and Lehman’s husband are ham radio operators.
When astronauts go into space, they are allowed to “carry” something for their loved ones. Lehman said he will carry a pendant for her and a tie tack (which will more likely end up on a cap) for her husband.
Lehman said they are very excited about traveling to Florida and seeing the launch of the space shuttle with their son-in-law on board.
“I’ll be a little nervous,” she admitted, but very proud as well.