February 18, 2014

Rick Mastracchio

NASA Astronaut, ISS Expedition 38 Flight Engineer

NASA Astronaut Rick Mastracchio currently serves as Flight Engineer aboard the International Space Station for Expedition 38. He left Earth on board the Russian Soyuz rocket on November 6, 2013 and is due to return home in May 2014.


  • DOB: February 11, 1960
  • Birth Place: Waterbury, Connecticut, USA
  • Residence: Houston, Texas, USA
  • Family: Rick is married with three children.
  • Education: Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering/Computer, Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering, Master of Science Degree in Physical Science.
  • Hobbies: In his free time, Rick enjoys flying, baseball, basketball, swimming, wood working, and spending time with his family.
  • Space Flights: STS-106; STS-118; STS-131; Expeditions 38/39


  • Rick worked for six years as an engineer developing high performance, strapped-down inertial measurement units and flight control computers.

    NASA Experience

  • In 1987, Rick moved to Houston, Texas, to work for the Rockwell Shuttle Operations Company at the Johnson Space Center.

  • In 1990, he joined NASA as an engineer in the Flight Crew Operations Directorate. His duties included the development of space shuttle flight software requirements, the verification of space shuttle flight software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory, and the development of ascent and abort crew procedures for the Astronaut Office.

  • From 1993 until 1996, he worked as an ascent/entry Guidance and Procedures Officer (GPO) in Mission Control. An ascent/entry GPO has both pre-mission and real-time space shuttle support responsibilities in the areas of on board guidance, navigation and targeting. During that time, he supported seventeen missions as a Flight Controller.

  • In April 1996, after nine applications, Rick was selected as an Astronaut Candidate and started training in August of 1996.

  • Rick has worked technical issues for the Astronaut Office Computer Support Branch, Space Station Operations, the EVA Branch and as a Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM). He served as the display design lead for the space shuttle cockpit avionics upgrades in 2003.

  • From 2004 until 2009, he has worked various Constellation and Orion tasks including Cockpit Design Lead, and Constellation Deputy Branch Chief.

  • A veteran of three spaceflights, Rick flew as a Mission Specialist on STS-106, STS-118, and STS-131 and has logged nearly 40 days in space, including six EVAs totaling 38 hours and 30 minutes.

    Space Flight Experience

  • STS-106 (Sep. 8 - Sept. 20, 2000)
    During the 12-day mission, the crew successfully prepared the International Space Station for the arrival of the first permanent crew. The five astronauts and two cosmonauts delivered more than 6,600 pounds of supplies and installed batteries, power converters, a toilet and a treadmill on the space station. Two crew members performed a spacewalk to connect power, data and communications cables to the newly arrived Service Module and the station. Rick was the ascent/entry flight engineer, the primary robotic arm operator, and was responsible for the transfer of items from the space shuttle to the space station. STS-106 orbited the Earth 185 times, and covered 4.9 million miles in 11 days, 19 hours, and 10 minutes.

  • STS-118 (Aug. 8 - Aug. 21, 2007)
    This was the 119th space shuttle flight, the 22nd flight to the station and the 20th flight for Endeavour. During the mission, Endeavour's crew successfully added another truss segment, a new gyroscope and external spare parts platform to the International Space Station. Rick was the ascent/entry flight engineer, and as EVA lead, he participated in three of the four spacewalks. Traveling 5.3 million miles in space, the STS-118 mission was completed in 12 days, 17 hours, 55 minutes and 34 seconds.

  • STS-131 (April 5 - April 20, 2010)
    A resupply mission to the International Space Station, was launched at night from the Kennedy Space Center. On arrival at the station, Discovery's crew dropped off more than 27,000 pounds of hardware, supplies and equipment, including a tank full of ammonia coolant, new crew sleeping quarters and three experiment racks. As the EVA lead, Rick performed a further three spacewalks during this mission and logged 20 hours and 17 minutes of spacewalks. The STS-131 mission was accomplished in 15 days, 02 hours, 47 minutes, 10 seconds, and traveled 6,232,235 statute miles in 238 orbits.

Current Mission: Expeditions 38/39 (Nov. 11, 2013 - May 2014)

  • On November 6, 2013, Rick launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station along with Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata.

  • Despite a remarkable track record including six spacewalks, Rick has only ever been to space on Shuttle missions, which usually last around two weeks, so he has never stayed up for the kind of length he is currently experiencing.

  • Expedition 38 will include research projects focusing on technology demonstration, cellular and plant biology, human health management for long duration space travel and maturing critical systems that currently support the International Space Station. There are two planned Russian spacewalks for Expedition 38: one in December 2013 and one in February 2014. In December 2013, Rick and Mike Hopkins carried out 2 emergency spacewalks due to a faulty valve that caused a partial shutdown in the system that regulates equipment temperature at the space station.

  • Rick holds 51 hours and 28 minutes spacewalking time over eight spacewalks.

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