Laredo native to soon become a hero among the stars

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 10:14 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - He was key in bringing Jim Lovell and the crew of the Apollo 13 home back to Earth and avoiding a national tragedy during the crucial years of the space race against Russia in the Cold War.

For many years, a Laredo native was as an unsung hero and is now getting the chance to be immortalized in the final frontier.

Officials from NASA say it was a way to engage the public and spark interest in its next exploration of space.

Originally, eight different Americans were nominated, and Arturo B. Campos surfaced as the winner.

His name and legacy is now a part of history.

“It’s a great honor for him. Especially, number one for his daughters, his family, his surviving family- they were the ones that got things going. This is a surprise because it was what you would call a grassroots effort.”

Oscar A. Campos describes a grassroots effort that is guiding his cousin Arturo to a place among the stars.

“I hear in politics they talk about grassroots efforts and this must be what it feels like to have something grow from a tiny little seed.”

That seed exploded in June when over 300,000 people placed their votes to have a Laredoan’s name attached to one of three international manikins, now called “Moonikins,” on the next mission to the moon.

“Commander Moonikin Campos” is the official name of the U.S. representation that will be a part of the November launch of Artemis I.

“He was a hero. He is a hero for what he did, and that’s what I’d tell him, also that I admired what he did.”

Arturo was a key player in bringing Apollo 13 safely back to Earth, and with the approval and support from others across the globe, his name and memory will now fly across the universe.

“He had more votes than we have people living in the city. He was a special man. He deserves the honor, deserves more.”

Commander Moonikin Campos is one of three mannequins flying aboard Orion to test the spacecrafts systems.

The other two passengers will be female representations from Israel and Germany.

Campos will occupy the commander’s seat inside and wear an Orion crew survival system suit, the same spacesuit that real life Artemis astronauts will use during their next mission.

The Artemis II will be the first mission in more than 50 years that will send a human crew around the moon.

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