Sean Merriman, web editor, October 18, 2013

Hundreds of former athletes have appeared on the Big Ten Network since it was launched back in August, 2007. But former Illinois defensive back Mike Hopkins was the first interviewee to answer questions from Space.

That's right, space…

Hopkins, a four-year letter winner who played at Illinois from 1988-91, is now a current NASA astronaut. He was one of nine people out of 3,500 applicants to be selected for the 2009 astronaut candidate class by NASA.

Hopkins joined the guys on #BTNLive on Friday, in an interview that studio host Rick Pizzo described as being "probably the coolest interview I've ever been a part of."

He also shows off his school pride at the end of the interview by flashing his Illinois football jersey under his NASA gear.

Check out the full interview above.