When he's not commanding a $100 billion space station, NASA astronaut Michael Fincke is cheering on his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers as they head into the NFL playoffs this weekend.
Fincke armed himself with the Steelers' trademark Terrible Towel and a team cap Friday in a video message beamed to Earth from the International Space Station as it orbited 220 miles (354 km) overhead.
"We'd like to say though, that up here, it's Steeler country," said Fincke with a wide smile and enthusiastic thumbs up.
Fincke, a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., who grew up in nearby Emsworth, is commanding the space station's three-astronaut Expedition 18 crew, which took charge of the orbiting laboratory last October. He is due to return to Earth in early April.
"Duringthat time, we?ve really missed our family, we've missed our friends," Fincke said. "But thanks to our friends in Houston, Texas, at the Mission Control Center we haven't missed out on football, especially the playoffs."
Fincke's Steelers will face off against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday for the American Football Conference title while the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals vie for the National Football Conference championship.
"We'd like to congratulate the four teams that made it to the conference championships,"Fincke said. "We know that your fans are all rooting for you all across the planet."