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NASA Astronaut Available For Interviews On Eve Of Space Station Mission

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio, a Waterbury, Conn., native who is making final preparations for a launch to the International Space Station, will be available for live satellite interviews from 6-7 a.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 25.

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO)

Mastracchio will participate in the interviews from Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, and depart the following day for the launch site in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Leading up to the live interviews, NASA Television will air at 5:30 a.m. pre-recorded video of Mastracchio's mission training and previous spaceflights.

To participate in the interviews, reporters should contact Karen Svetaka at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston at 281-483-8684 no later than 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24.

Mastracchio earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut and postgraduate degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Houston at Clear Lake. A veteran of three space shuttle flights, Mastracchio was a mission specialist on STS-106, STS-118 and STS-131, and has logged almost 40 days in space. He also conducted six spacewalks totaling 38 hours, 30 minutes.

Mastracchio will launch aboard a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 11:14 p.m. EST Nov. 6, along with Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Mikhail Tyurin of the Russian Federal Space Agency. The trio will start their time aboard the station as part of Expedition 37, and will return to Earth in May 2014 as part of the Expedition 38 crew.

When Mastracchio, Wakata Tyurin arrive at the station Nov. 7, they will join Expedition 37 astronauts Karen Nyberg and Michael Hopkins of NASA, Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov, Sergey Ryazanskiy and Fyodor Yurchikhin.

This crew will participate in several hundred experiments that cross the fields of biology and biotechnology, physical science and Earth science during their mission, which will last almost six months.

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