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8/21/2014 - Waterbury to Give NASA Astronaut Hero's Welcome

Rick Mastracchio Will Make Public Appearances in Hometown 

(WATERBURY, CT) – NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio will receive a warm greeting when he returns to his hometown next month.  The City of Waterbury, in partnership with the Waterbury Police Activity League (PAL) and the Waterbury Department of Education, will give Mastracchio a hero’s welcome after his recent journey in the International Space Station (ISS).  Mastracchio returned from a six-month expedition in May.  He served as a flight engineer for space station Expeditions 38 and 39.

Mastracchio will make an appearance on Wednesday, Sept. 10 at Crosby High School, 300 Pierpont Road in Waterbury, at 6:30 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public.

Mastracchio graduated from Chase Elementary School and Crosby High School in Waterbury.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of Connecticut.  Mastracchio then received a master’s in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic and a master’s in physical science from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

“Rick Mastracchio is a leading example of what can be accomplished through hard work and dedication,” Mayor O’Leary said.  “Rick never gave up.  He followed his dreams, and his dreams propelled him to the stars.  I know I speak for all Waterbury residents when I say that we couldn’t be prouder with our homegrown hero.”

At Crosby High School, Mastracchio is expected to speak about his recent mission and emergency space-walks he made to repair a failed cooling pump on the ISS.  The goal is to inspire students with the story of his journey, from being a Waterbury public school student to becoming one of the most prolific astronauts of all time.

While in space, the 54-year-old astronaut spoke to thousands of city students via video conference at the Palace Theater, gave the commencement speech for the University of Connecticut’s School of Engineering and conducted several live TV interviews, all while sharing his experience and spectacular photos from outer space with 7,466 Facebook fans and 73,000 Twitter followers.

 “Rick Mastracchio has taken the time to share his recent journey with students and is a hero to the youth of the city of Waterbury,” Waterbury Deputy Chief of Police and PAL President Fernando Spagnolo stated.  “We are extremely grateful and proud of his efforts to inspire children to strive to become successful, responsible and caring adults.”

In addition to the Crosby High School event, Mastracchio will make a public appearance at Waterbury City Hall on Sept. 10 at 1:00 p.m., where Mayor O’Leary will present the Waterbury native with a proclamation and a key to the city.

During his time in space, Mastracchio carried a Travel Bug Tag along with eleven hitchhiker tags.  Students were able to track the Travel Bug from their classrooms on Waterbury PAL partnered with Waterbury Public Schools and to educate and bring awareness to school children about NASA and the ISS.  Mastracchio is returning the Travel Bug to Waterbury at the Crosby High School event.

For Mastracchio’s complete biography and photograph please visit:

WHO: NASA astronaut and Waterbury native Rick Mastracchio
WHAT: Mastracchio makes public appearances in hometown

WHEN: Wednesday, September 10, 2014; 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: Waterbury City Hall; Veteran’s Memorial Hall, 235 Grand Street, Waterbury

WHEN: Wednesday, September 10; 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Crosby High School; 300 Pierpont Road, Waterbury


CONTACT: Robert Cizauskas
Tel: 203-228-9351 / Email: