Rick Mastracchio, a NASA astronaut and 1987 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, will answer questions from Rensselaer students live from the International Space Station at 12:30 p.m. Friday, April 18.
Mastracchio graduated with a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Rensselaer Hartford Campus. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of Connecticut in 1982 and another master’s degree in physical science from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 1991. Students from each school will have a chance to ask Mastracchio questions about his career as an astronaut.
Mastracchio is currently aboard the International Space Station, his fourth NASA shuttle mission; the flight is tentatively scheduled to continue through November. Mastracchio made headlines recently when he completed two spacewalks to finish urgent repairs to the International Space Station’s cooling system. Throughout his career, Mastracchio has completed eight space walks totaling 51 hours and 28 minutes, putting him among the ranks of the most experienced spacewalkers.
“We are proud to count Rick Mastracchio among the ranks of our accomplished alumni and thankful that he is taking time to speak with current students,” said Jeff Schanz, assistant vice president for alumni relations. “Mastracchio’s example shows just how far a Rensselaer education can take a graduate.”
The six Rensselaer students who have been chosen to ask Mastracchio questions each have a particular interest in NASA. Among them are three former NASA interns, the presidents of the Rensselaer chapters of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Society of Women Engineers, and a member of the Navy ROTC at Rensselaer.
The Q&A with Mastracchio will be broadcast in the theater at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center.
The event will begin promptly at 12:30 p.m. and will be hosted by Laurie Leshin, dean of the School of Science and former NASA executive. The event will also be streamed live online on NASA TV.