For Waterbury's Rick Mastracchio, Again a Walk in Space

Apr 18, 2014

Astronaut Rick Mastracchio is scheduled to make his ninth spacewalk. The Waterbury native will repair a failed computer outside the International Space Station. 

Mastracchio has been on the ISS since last year. In December, he made a series of spacewalks to repair a water pump on the exterior of the space station. Now, the graduate of Crosby High School and UConn will fix a broken computer outside the ISS.

Mike Suffredini is the ISS program manager. "Really, the box is about 13 years old," he said. "It's not like this failure is shocking to have occurred at some point, given it's age." The failed computer is one of two systems that manage the station's external cooling and solar array. 

Rick Mastracchio has been aboard the International Space Station since November of 2013.
Credit NASA

Mastracchio will complete the spacewalk with one other astronaut. Suffredini said it will be quick. "A short EVA, from a risk posture, really reduces your risk. We're very close to the airlock. Two hours and 30 minutes, I think, is the time for the EVA. So that really minimizes the risk to the crew." 

In the meantime, officials say the main computer system on the ISS is fine and that the six astronauts aboard are safe. Mastracchio should be back on Earth May 13.