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Texan’s Embroidery Art Enters Space Aboard Shuttle Atlantis

A print of this embroidery blasted off into space this morning aboard the Shuttle Atlantis.
Photo by Rachel Hobson
A print of this embroidery blasted off into space this morning aboard the Shuttle Atlantis.

Imagine that your two biggest passions are crafting and outer space. What would be the most awesome way to send off the final launch of the Shuttle Atlantis? For former Austinite Rachel Hobson, it was having a print of her embroidery hitch a ride on the spacecraft that went into orbit this morning. She also got to witness the launch in person.

We talked to Rachel by telephone just minutes after the shuttle blasted off.

KUT News: You just witness the last launch of the shuttle program! Pretty historic.

Rachel Hobson: It’s a real privilege, and it’s truly one of the most amazing sights to behold. And it’s very sad that was the last time we’ll ever see it.

KUT News: I understand you do embroidery and some of your embroidery is up on the shuttle?

Hobson: Yes, I actually won a contest that was held through NASA and Etsy, and I did a high texture hand embroidery of the moon. They couldn’t fit the actual embroidered piece because of the weight constraints, but a print of my art just launched into space.

KUT News: What does it feel like to know that it’s up there?

Hobson: It’s pretty cool. I’ve been a huge space geek my whole life, went to space camp when I was 12. I would love to go to space, but if I can’t and my art can, that’s pretty special.

KUT News: Sounds like a happy and emotional time for you.

Hobson: It is. A launch, regardless, is incredibly awe-inspiring and stunning, but the added emotion of this being the last launch, and my artwork being on board, I’m still pretty shaken up, as you can tell.

KUT News: Do you get to keep your art when it comes back?

Hobson: I think that’s the plan. I haven’t gotten the final word yet. The actual piece of embroidery is now part of the NASA collection, so my hope is that I will at least the print back with the certificate that it flew in space. That’s the hope.

KUT News: You lived in Austin, but now you live in Houston?

Hobson: We just moved from Austin about six months ago. My husband got a job down in Houston. When we moved, we were looking for places to live, and I said, if we have to live in a suburb of Houston, I’d like it to be the one where I can see rockets when I’m driving to the grocery store.

So we moved about five minutes away from Johnson Space Center, and live in a historic astronaut neighborhood. I can get my space geek on all the time, which is really wonderful.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
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