A little piece of Murray County arrives at International Space Station

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SLAYTON - When the Soyuz 35 spacecraft docked successfully at the International Space Station Tuesday, it brought a little bit of Murray County, Minnesota with it.

NASA astronaut and Vining, Minnesota native Karen Nyberg, on her second mission to the space station, brought along a picture of her niece Sami and Sami’s fiancé, Caleb Hackbarth, a U.S. Marine who just returned from a deployment in Afghanistan. That photo was taken by Sean Solheim, owner and operator of Sean Solheim Photography. He spent his elementary and high school years living in Avoca, and currently lives in Slayton. Hackbarth grew up in rural Avoca and graduated from Fulda High School.

I spoke with Solheim to find out when the photo session took place and how he found out it would end up at the International Space Station.

“Last fall is when we took the picture,” Solheim said. “It was just a last bit when Caleb had about a week to say goodbye to his family before he got deployed.”

Sami Nyberg texted Solheim several months ago and asked him if he would like to have one of his photographs in space.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘How in the world is this going to happen?’ It didn’t really hit me until a couple of days ago, when she said it was still going to happen,” Solheim explained. “Yesterday I was watching the launch, and there it went. It went up there.”

Not only is Solheim excited about knowing a picture he took made it into space, he’s happy to have a small business that is growing larger.

“This is seriously a great opportunity, one of the biggest opportunities I will ever have,” he said. “I’ll be honest, I never expected something like this to happen. Even right now, I’m very excited about it being up there.”

But who ever expects a piece of their work to end up on the International Space Station?

“When the door opened up for that, I gladly walked in,” Solheim said. “I was not expecting to get this far this fast - all of the support everyone has been giving me this far, I gladly appreciate that.”

Solheim has been in business for just over two years, and currently does most of his work out of the Murray County area. Even that, he said, is starting to expand. His photography includes portrait work for weddings and engagements, senior photos, family sessions, children and even baby bump work.

He can be contacted via email at seansolheimphotography@hotmail.com, you can check out Sean Solheim Photography on Facebook or text or call at 507-329-1213.

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