Astronaut to give university speech from space

May 01, 2014 by Pat Eaton-Robb

University of Connecticut alumnus Rick Mastracchio would have liked to deliver this year's graduation address to the school of engineering in person. But he'll be out of town on May 10—orbiting the globe on the International Space Station.

So UConn has arranged for the 54-year-old astronaut give the from space.

His recorded address will be shown on the video boards at Gampel Pavilion to about 5,000 people, including more than 400 graduating seniors and their families, and several members of Mastracchio's family, including his wife, Candi.

"I remain a bit nervous," said Kazem Kazerounian, the dean of the engineering school, who helped set up the unusual graduation speech. "We have never tried anything like this before, and I know that the world will be watching us. So, while I'm excited, I still have to have my fingers crossed."

Mastracchio, who earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and computer engineering from UConn in 1982, will receive an honorary doctorate.

He is wrapping up his fourth trip into space, an eight-month stint aboard the , and has spent more than 51 hours on space walks outside the orbiting laboratory.

He recorded the speech over the weekend and beamed it back to NASA, which was converting the file Thursday to send to UConn.

This won't be Mastracchio's first contact with a Connecticut audience from space.

Last month, he and colleague Steve Swanson did a live question-and-answer session from the space station with children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which has a new building since the December 2012 shooting that killed 26 people.

This is at least the third astronaut to give a commencement speech from space, NASA spokesman Jay Bolden said. The first two both occurred at the University of North Dakota, including an address in August by astronaut Karen Nyberg. The other was a brief live "drop-in" by astronaut Mike Fincke in 2004 during a speech by NASA chief Dan Golden.

Kazerounian is scheduled to fly back to Earth aboard a Russian spacecraft on May 13.

Explore further: Russian cargo ship docks with space station

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Russian cargo ship docks with space station

Apr 10, 2014

A Russian cargo ship has successfully docked with the International Space Station Thursday, bringing the crew crucial supplies and water, Russia's space agency said.

Image: Astronaut Mike Hopkins on Dec. 24 spacewalk

Dec 29, 2013

On Dec. 24, 2013, NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, Expedition 38 Flight Engineer, participates in the second of two spacewalks, spread over a four-day period, which were designed to allow the crew to change out ...

Recommended for you

Scientists 'map' water vapor in Martian atmosphere

10 minutes ago

Russian scientists from the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), together with their French and American colleagues, have ...

Water fleas prepared for trip to space

4 hours ago

Local 'Daphnia' waterfleas are currently being prepared by scientists at the University of Birmingham for their trip to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will be observed by astronauts.

The worst trip around the world

5 hours ago

As you celebrate the end of the year in the warmth of your home, spare a thought for the organisms riding with a third-class ticket on the International Space Station – bolted to the outside with no protection ...

Four Galileo satellites at ESA test centre

5 hours ago

ESA engineers unwrapped a welcome Christmas present: the latest Galileo satellite. The navigation satellite will undergo a full checkout in Europe's largest satellite test facility to prove its readiness ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.