WDRB interviews astronaut Rick Mastracchio after his return from - WDRB 41 Louisville News

WDRB interviews astronaut Rick Mastracchio after his return from the International Space Station

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- What is life like on the International Space Station? Do you miss life on earth? The food? And how hard is it to readjust to gravity once you get back?

WDRB News had the opportunity to ask some of these questions Tuesday morning when we spoke with astronaut Rick Mastracchio. Mastracchio just returned from a six-month stay aboard the International Space Station, beginning on Nov. 7, 2013 and ending on May 14. During that time period, he and his international crewmates orbited the earth over 3,000 times, and traveled 79.8 million miles.

The three men of Expedition 38/39, as his crew was designated, were also aboard the station during a period when relations between the United States and Russia took a hard hit, as Russian President Vladimir Putin effectively annexed Crimea and positioned troops on the border of Ukraine, amid an international outcry.

We spoke with Mastracchio briefly about this and other topics via a satellite feed.

WDRB: Hey Rick, this is Travis Kircher with WDRB in Louisville, Ky.

RICK: Yes, go ahead!

WDRB: First off, congratulations on your successful flight and your safe return.

RICK: Thank you. It’s great to be back.

WDRB: I guess, my first question, thinking about you guys up there at six months at a time…obviously you miss your family and friends the most, but what do you miss most about the earth, being away for so long?

RICK: We were just talking about that a little while ago. Probably the thing you miss the most after your family is the food. The space station has a pretty large assortment of food, but it’s a fact that you’re up there for such a long time that you tend to start to miss some of your favorite things.

WDRB: Was there one particular thing that you thought, ‘Man as soon as I get back to Earth, I have got to have X?’

RICK: Yeah, there was a lot of things on that list. Of course pasta, a good steak, pizza, hamburger, and lots of different types of burgers of course.

WDRB: Flipping that question kind of on its head, now that you’re back on the Earth, what do you miss most about being on the space station?

RICK: Probably the thing I’m gonna miss the most …two things. First of all, the view out the window is incredible, and then the second thing is, sleeping in a zero G environment – sleeping in a weightless environment – is very, very comfortable and quite enjoyable.

WDRB: Obviously during this mission, there is a lot of stuff that happened on the ground as far as Ukraine, our relationship with Russia. I think there were some barbs traded on social media – a comment comes to mind about a Russian official who said that maybe we’d like a trampoline to get to the space station. While this is going on, you guys are – I’m sure – following this. Were there any awkward moments when you guys discussed this with the other partners – the international partners? What conclusions did you reach in those discussions?

RICK: Yeah, of course we only had a certain amount of insight into the news, but we did talk a little bit about it on board the space station, of course, but our personal relationship with the cosmonauts on the space station was fantastic and we had no problems whatsoever.

WDRB: On question I have to ask, being from Louisville, Ky. Are you a horse racing fan, and did you guys get to watch the Kentucky Derby while you were up there?

RICK: No we did not – I’m sorry – but I have been reading about it in the paper recently.

WDRB: (Laughing) Well you guys flew over Louisville quite a few times and gave us quite a show, so I think we can let that pass.

RICK: (Laughs) Thanks!

WDRB: Now that you’ve come back – obviously you’ve been in zero-G a long time – is it hard to re-adjust, and are there times when you have an awkward moment and maybe forget that you’re not in zero-G?

RICK: Well, you know we exercise quite a bit on board space station so that when we do come back, we feel pretty good – we feel strong.  And I do feel strong. I’ve got a case of jet lag, it feels like to me. But yeah, I think there are times where I think I want to pass something to somebody, and I’ve got to realize that I can’t float it to them anymore. So it is something you’ve got to keep in mind.

WDRB: What is the one thing you’re most proud of on this past mission that you guys accomplished?

RICK: Well I think when we boil it all down, I’m gonna be most proud of the science that we accomplished. I think – in especially the last couple of months in the mission – we were really starting to hit our stride when it came to the science.

WDRB: Also you guys docked with the SpaceX capsule – the resupply ship. Obviously a lot more is dependent on private space exploration in the coming years. Were you impressed with the SpaceX capsule? How did you feel that it worked in comparison with the NASA-

RICK: We had two cargo ships come up. We had the Orbital Cygnus and we had the SpaceX Dragon come up, and both of those vehicles, as far as I could tell, performed flawlessly. They were fantastic vehicles. They delivered the cargo and they undocked perfectly, so they were great to have.

WDRB: Thanks very much! We appreciate it!

RICK: Thank you!

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