Sullivan South grad now works for SpaceX

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(WJHL) — A Kingsport-native and Sullivan South High School graduate is now working for SpaceX.

Shane Dingus is an environmental health and safety technician for Elon Musk’s space company.

He was directly involved with the recent recovery of the SpaceX Dragon capsule that splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico with astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on board.

“We were responsible for bringing the capsule out of the ocean onto the ship and then gaining access, welcoming Doug and Bob back, and then getting them out of the capsule and into the medical bay where the flight surgeons could perform different tests and measurements and see how their general overall health is doing after returning from zero gravity,” Dingus said.

Shane Dingus shows the mission patch he earned for his involvement in SpaceX’s recent mission.

Before his time at SpaceX, Dingus was a pracademic in Johnson City and worked on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

Now, he lives in Florida and works for the company that became the first to launch people into space aboard a commercially built spacecraft.

“It was very, um, interesting,” Dingus said. “It’s the first time I had ever talked to astronauts. Especially ones that had just returned from outer space.”

Dingus said he appreciates being apart of such a historic event.

“It has been 45 years since the United States has removed astronauts from the sea, so it was the last Apollo mission — 1975,” he said. “And this was the first time ever that a private company has launched and recovered astronauts.”

“I saw it come down. I was there when they opened the door. I was one of the first masked faces that Doug and Bob saw when the doors opened back on earth.”

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