HCMC-trained MD Astronaut Kjell Lindgren launches to International Space Station next week

official Expedition 44 crew portrait. Soyuz 42 (Gennady Padalka, Mikhail Kornienko, Scott Kelly) and Soyuz 43 (Oleg Kononenko, Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren).
Official Expedition 44 crew portrait. Soyuz 42 (Gennady Padalka, Mikhail Kornienko, Scott Kelly) and Soyuz 43 (Oleg Kononenko, Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren).

Excitement is building at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) as they count down the days to NASA’s Expedition 44/45 launch on Wednesday, July 22. The Soyuz spacecraft will carry a crew to the International Space Station that includes astronaut Kjell Lindgren, MD who completed his medical residency in HCMC’s Emergency Department where he was also Chief Resident.

Dr. Lindgren (far left)  and crew.
Dr. Lindgren (far left) and crew.

Dr. Lindgren will serve as flight engineer for this mission, which was originally scheduled to launch on May 25, but was delayed after an unmanned Russian cargo spacecraft failed to reach the International Space Station (ISS) on April 30. An investigation into the malfunction had to take place before Expedition 44/45’s launch could be rescheduled.

Dr. Doug Brunette
Dr. Doug Brunette

“Of course we were concerned about Kjell’s mission after hearing about the Progress 59P problem,” explains Dr. Douglas Brunette, referring to the cargo spacecraft that eventually burned up after re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. “But it’s better to be safe and wait until the cause of the problem was figured out, and we had every confidence that the launch would be rescheduled.”

Dr. Brunette supervised Dr. Lindgren’s medical training in the Emergency Department, and he was invited by Dr. Lindgren to be his guest in Kazakhstan to watch the launch from the Cosmodrome.

“I feel so honored that Kjell asked me to be there. Of course it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, but to see my former resident – whom I now consider a friend and colleague – fulfill his dreams of being an astronaut, it’s just so exciting,” said Dr. Brunette, who leaves for Kazakhstan on July 16.

Hospital employees are counting down the days to the launch with posts on social media and even a Russian-themed menu in the cafeteria. For more information about NASA’s Expedition 44/45 as they prepare for their launch, go to: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/

Countdown to NASA launch begins with HCMC-trained astronaut aboard

UPDATE: Dr. Kjell Lindgren’s launch to the International Space Station (ISS) was delayed after a problem occurred involving an unmanned cargo spacecraft delivering supplies to the ISS.  The investigation into what caused the problem is now completed – and the ISS launch has been rescheduled for July 22!

Dr. Kjell Lindgren credits his emergency medicine training at HCMC to preparing him for his space launch.

16101545838_76bedf4c47_zStaff at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) in Minneapolis are counting down the days until the launch of Expedition 45 crew members to the International Space Station in July when they’ll see their student, colleague and friend fulfill his dream of space travel.

NASA astronaut and former Chief Emergency Medicine Resident Dr. Kjell Lindgren will take his medical and aerospace training with him aboard a Soyuz spacecraft that will fly from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan to the International Space Station on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Dr. Lindgren and his Expedition 45 colleagues will remain on the Space Station until November 2015.

Dr. Lindgren completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at HCMC in 2005, where he appreciated the opportunity to train in a Level I Trauma Center with one of the most sought-after programs in the country. He is currently assigned as a flight engineer with Expedition 44/45.

“The training I received in the HCMC Emergency Medicine residency program provided me with a suite of skills that I still use today,” explains Dr. Lindgren.

In fact, he thinks it’s great training ground for spaceflight.

“The environment can be stressful, teamwork is critical, the job can be mundane one moment and high stakes the next, the breadth of knowledge required is intimidating, and the coffee is not always great.”

Hennepin County Medical Center is a nationally recognized Level I Adult Trauma Center and Level I Pediatric Trauma Center with the largest emergency department in Minnesota. The comprehensive academic medical center and public teaching hospital includes a 472-bed acute care hospital as well as primary care and specialty clinics located in downtown Minneapolis its surrounding communities.

See YouTube video about Dr. Lindgren and his crew.

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