In Brief

Space Station Astronaut Rick Mastracchio to Speak with Friday

NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio moves toward the International Space Station's robotic arm as the station moves into daylight on Dec. 24, 2013.
NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio moves toward the International Space Station's robotic arm as the station moves into daylight on Dec. 24, 2013. (Image credit: NASA TV)

NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio has been living and working on the International Space Station since November. On Friday (Jan. 31), the veteran astronaut will speak with about his life in space, the 2014 Olympic Games and the upcoming Super Bowl from his post on the orbiting laboratory.

Mastracchio will connect with at 10:45 a.m. EST (1545 GMT) Friday, and the conversation will be streamed live. We'll find out what it's like to watch sports in space and if there are any friendly international rivalries that might crop up because of the upcoming Olympic Games. We'll also ask what team Mastracchio is cheering for in the Super Bowl. You can watch the cosmic conversation live via NASA TV.

But we also want questions from you, readers! What do you want to ask an astronaut floating through space more than 200 miles (322 kilometers) above the surface of Earth? We'll have about 10 minutes to ask Mastracchio questions, but we'll use some of that time to fit in as many reader questions as possible. Leave your questions in the comments below this story, or send them to Staff Writer Miriam Kramer via Twitter using @mirikramer or @SPACEdotcom. [See Amazing Photos from Rick Mastracchio on the International Space Station]

Mastracchio, 53, hails from Waterbury, Conn., and has flown on three previous space missions with NASA. He joined the space agency in 1987 and was selected for astronaut training in 1996. His first three spaceflights were all short-duration space-shuttle missions to the space station between 2000 and 2010. During those missions, he clocked nearly 40 days in space and ventured into the vacuum of space on six spacewalks.

This will be the second time a staff member has spoken with Mastracchio in a little more than a month. Managing Editor Tariq Malik chatted with Mastracchio on Dec. 13, 2013, about spacewalking and what it's like to be in space for Christmas.

Over the Christmas season, Mastracchio and fellow NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins completed two successful spacewalks to install a space ammonia pump module on the outside of the station, fixing a problem with the orbiting outpost's critical cooling system. Mastracchio now has 51 hours and 28 minutes of spacewalking time under his belt.

Mastracchio is set to fly back to Earth with fellow crew members Koichi Wakata, of Japan, and cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin in May of this year. They are currently joined by Hopkins and cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy, who round out the Expedition 38 crew.

What do you want to ask Mastracchio? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

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Miriam Kramer
Staff Writer

Miriam Kramer joined as a Staff Writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also served as's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight.  Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. Miriam is currently a space reporter with Axios, writing the Axios Space newsletter. You can follow Miriam on Twitter.