HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – One of NASA’s newest astronauts considers Harrisburg his hometown.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Bob Hines has moved around the world throughout his career but has a special place in his heart for central Pennsylvania.

“I got my wife to pin on the astronaut pin, which is the final signification of completion of that journey,” said Hines.

As Hines embarks on his newest journey as an astronaut, he looks back at what brought him to this point.

“Harrisburg has been one of the constants in my life,” said Hines. “Growing up, we moved all over the place, every couple of years, and a lot of it throughout different parts of Pennsylvania.”

But he’d always spend time his grandparents in Harrisburg and Hershey.

His parents ended up settling in the Midstate, too, making central Pennsylvania a home base where he spent many formative years.

“My grandfather still lives in Palmyra and he taught at Milton Hershey School and I used to participate a lot with the stuff he used to do as a teacher at Milton Hershey,” Hines said. “It’s just really an honor to be able to speak with you and to share this with the people who are back there.”

While he does come to visit, the dad of three is now preparing for some out-of-this-world experiences.

He was among the 11 astronauts in the first class to graduate from NASA’s Artemis program.

“Developing the new missions of Artemis, where NASA is going to land the first woman and the next man on the moon, and we’re developing multiple vehicles as a part of that,” said Hines.

It took years of intensive training, but he’s eligible for assignments to the international space station, Artemis missions to the moon, and even missions to Mars.

Hines served more than 20 years in the Air Force as an instructor, fighter and test pilot. He went onto become a research pilot at the Johnson Space Center.

“We’re all really excited for what is front of us here at NASA,” said Hines.

So far, Hines has accumulated more than 3,500 hours of flight time in 50 different types of aircraft.