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Alumni in Space

Following his landing on the International Space Station, Rensselaer graduate and flight engineer on Expedition 38, Rick Mastracchio ’87 unfurled a Rensselaer banner that he left for fellow alumnus Reid Wiseman ’97 (see video). Wiseman is training to fly a six-month mission as part of the Expedition 40/41 crew. The flight is tentatively scheduled for May through November 2014.

Mastracchio received national attention, when he and fellow astronaut Mike Hopkins completed two spacewalks to to finish urgent repairs to the cooling system of the International Space Station. In a seven-and-a-half-hour spacewalk, their second in four days, they installed a new pump module on the outside of the space station. As of this writing, Mastracchio's total of eight spacewalks now stands at 51 hours and 28 minutes, moving him up to sixth on the list of most experienced spacewalkers.

Follow current Space Station News and Rick Mastracchio's live Twitter Feed from the International Space Station.

Mastracchio graduated in 1987 with a master’s degree in electrical engineering. Mastracchio is currently serving as flight engineer aboard the International Space Station for the Expedition 39 crew. This is his fourth NASA Space Shuttle mission.

Wiseman is a former Naval commander, aviator, and test pilot. Wiseman graduated from Rensselaer in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in computer and systems engineering. This will be his first space flight. The men join the short list of Rensselaer astronauts. The third was John L. Swigert Jr. ’65 (M.S. Aerospace Science), who flew on the Apollo 13 mission in April 1970 as the Command Module Pilot.

both suited up

Suited Up for Soyuz Launch Seated on far right is Rensselaer's Rick Mastracchio. Backup crew member Reid Wiseman is standing behind him. The three crew members are preparing to have their Russian Sokol suits pressure checked a few hours ahead of their launch, Nov. 7, 2013, in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Tyurin. Photo credit: NASA/GCTC/Irina Peshkova

Wiseman

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, Expedition 40/41 flight engineer, participates in a spacewalk - or extravehicular activity (EVA) - training session on May 14, 2013 in the Partial Gravity Simulator (POGO) test area in the Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility at NASA's Johnson Space Center. NASA astronaut Steve Swanson (left), Expedition 39 flight engineer and Expedition 40 commander, assists Wiseman.

Spacewalk Mastracchio

Rick Mastracchio participates in the first Expedition 38 spacewalk designed to troubleshoot a faulty coolant pump on the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA