In Brief

Space Station Astronaut Rick Mastracchio Calls Friday: Questions Wanted

Astronaut Mastracchio with SPHERES Experiment
NASA Astronaut Rick Mastracchio tweeted this photo of himself with the SPHERES experiment aboard the International Space Station on Dec. 11, 2013. The experiment consists of small satellites that operate inside the ISS to test various control algorithms. (Image credit: Rick Mastracchio (via Twitter as @AstroRM))

Veteran NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is hard at work on the International Space Station, but on Friday (Dec. 13), he will speak with about life in orbit and we want to hear your questions.

Mastracchio will speak with at 9:50 a.m. EST (1450 GMT) about his Expedition 38 mission to the space station. You can be sure I'll be asking about the current space station cooling system problem NASA is troubleshooting right now, as well as the upcoming launch of Orbital Sciences' Cygnus cargo ship to the orbiting lab and what it may be like to spend Christmas in space.

But I also hope to ask some questions from you, the readers. We'll only have 10 minutes, but I'll try to cover as much ground as possible. You can post your questions in comments section below and we'll try to ask as many as we can. [See Rick Mastracchio's amazing space photos]

Rick Mastracchio, 53, is a native of Waterbury, Conn., and holds degrees in electrical engineering and physical science. He joined NASA in 1987 as an engineer and was selected for astronaut training in 1996. During his first three spaceflights— all on NASA space shuttles visiting the station between 2000 and 2010 — Mastracchio logged nearly 40 days in space and performed six spacewalks.

For this latest mission, Mastracchio launched to the space station on Nov. 6 on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. He will live and work in orbit until May 2014 as a flight engineer on the space station's Expedition 38 and 39 crews. This mission is Mastracchio's fourth spaceflight, but first long-duration mission.

So what would YOU ask Rick Mastracchio about? Let us know in the comments below.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.