Astronaut Biography: Richard A. Mastracchio
NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio, a mission specialist and spacewalker, dons a bright orange partial pressure launch and entry suit for a portrait.
Credit: NASA

NAME: Rick Mastracchio
NASA Astronaut

PERSONAL DATA: Born February 11, 1960 in Waterbury, Connecticut.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Crosby High School, Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1978; received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering/computer science from the University of Connecticut in 1982, a master of science of degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1987, and a master of science degree in physical science from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 1991.

ORGANIZATIONS: Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

EXPERIENCE: Rick Mastracchio worked for Hamilton Standard in Connecticut as an engineer in the system design group from 1982 until 1987. During that time, he participated in the development of high performance, strapped-down inertial measurement units and flight control computers.

NASA EXPERIENCE: In 1987, Mastracchio moved to Houston, Texas, to work for the Rockwell Shuttle Operations Company at the Johnson Space Center. In 1990, he joined NASA as an engineer in the Flight Crew Operations Directorate. His duties included the development of space shuttle flight software requirements, the verification of space shuttle flight software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory, and the development of ascent and abort crew procedures for the Astronaut Office.

From 1993 until 1996, he worked as an ascent/entry Guidance and Procedures Officer (GPO) in Mission Control. An ascent/entry GPO has both pre-mission and real time Space Shuttle support responsibilities in the areas of onboard guidance, navigation, and targeting. During that time, he supported seventeen missions as a flight controller.

In April 1996, Mastracchio was selected as an Astronaut Candidate and started training in August 1996. Mastracchio has worked technical issues for the Astronaut Office Computer Support Branch, for Space Station Operations, and the EVA Branch. He next served as lead for cockpit avionics upgrades. Mastracchio flew as a mission specialist on STS-106 and has logged over 283 hours in space.

Currently, he is assigned to the STS-118 crew.

SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-106 Atlantis (September 8-20, 2000). During the 12-day mission, the crew successfully prepared the International Space Station for the arrival of the first permanent crew. The five astronauts and two cosmonauts delivered more than 6,600 pounds (2,993 kilograms) of supplies and installed batteries, power converters, a toilet and a treadmill on the Space Station. Two crewmembers performed a space walk in order to connect power, data and communications cables to the newly arrived Zvezda Service Module and the Space Station. Mastracchio was the ascent/entry flight engineer, the primary robotic arm operator, and responsible for the transfer of items from the Space Shuttle to the Space Station. STS-106 orbited the Earth 185 times, and covered 4.9 million miles (7.8 million kilometers) in 11 days, 19 hours, and 10 minutes.

Last Updated: May 2006

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