September 4, 2013
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Rick Mastracchio, Rensselaer at Hartford Alumnus, to Spend Six Months in Space

HARTFORD, CONN NASA astronaut, Richard “Rick” Mastracchio, who earned a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Hartford Campus, is preparing for his fourth mission into space. Mastracchio, a native of Waterbury, has been training as a Flight Engineer for Expeditions 38/39 to the International Space Station (ISS).

The expeditions, which will cover approximately six-months, are scheduled to get underway on November 6, 2013. Mastracchio, along with two other crew members, will depart for the ISS aboard a Russian Soyuz launch vehicle from the launch site Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Mastracchio’s previous space flight experience includes STS-106 Atlantis (September 8-20, 2000); STS-118 Endeavour (August 8-21, 2007); and STS-131 Discovery (April 5-20, 2010). He has conducted six spacewalks or extravehicular activities (EVA’s).

NASA is promoting a “Ride with Rick Space Trivia Contest on Twitter.” The contest, as described on the NASA web site: “Spaceflight trivia contest: Tweet to test your knowledge and become a virtual crewmember aboard the International Space Station! Follow @AstroRM on Twitter and get a chance to fly your picture to the ISS with Astronaut Rick Mastracchio.” Complete contest rules may be found at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition38/ride_with_rick.html.

To learn more about the expeditions, please visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition38/index.html#.UiDjWX8mWSr.

The Rensselaer Alumni in Space display case, located on Level 3 at the Rensselaer Hartford Campus, includes memorabilia that Mastracchio provided to the school. The display case also features items from two other Rensselaer at Hartford alumni who have flown in space: John L. “Jack” Swigert, Jr. (’65 M.S. Aerospace Science), who flew on the Apollo 13 mission in April 1970 as the Command Module Pilot; and Dennis A. Tito (’64 M.S. Engineering Science), founder and CEO of Wilshire Associates Inc., who became the world’s first space tourist, traveling aboard a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian crew to the ISS in April 2001.

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