Waterbury native Rick Mastracchio in an orbital selfie April 23, 2014 (NASA)

Waterbury native and NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is now 5th on the list of mankind’s long duration spacewalkers, with a total of 53 hours of cumulative extra-vehicular activity (EVAs) since his first mission in 2000.

Mastracchio’s latest task was to replace a faulty backup computer that resides outside the space station.

This current mission underscored the necessity of American space launch capabilities, as a needed component for the repair work was on earth when the back up computer broke down. NASA managers were able to quickly manifest the needed component, a thin piece of thermal material called CryoTherm, to a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft in Florida ahead of its April 18 launch. The material was quickly unloaded from the Dragon after it berthed to the station and Mastracchio and fellow NASA astronaut Steve Swanson installed it outside.

Watch CTTechjunkie’s interview with Mastracchio shortly before his latest mission:

This is the second unexpected maintenance task Mastracchio had to perform since arriving to the station in November. The previous repair job was a multi-spacewalk repair in late December of an ammonia pump used for the station’s cooling system.

Mastracchio is a 1978 graduate of Crosby High School in Waterbury. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of Connecticut in 1982. He is slated to return to Earth aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule next month.

Jay Patterson contributed to this report

Lon Seidman is the host and producer of “Lon.TV,” a consumer technology video show that is on a number of platforms including YouTube and Amazon. He creates in-depth, consumer-friendly product reviews and commentary. His YouTube channel has over 300,000 subscribers and more than 100 million views.

In addition to being a full-time content creator, Lon is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Hartford (his alma mater) where he teaches a course in entrepreneurial content creation.

Prior to becoming a full-time creator, Lon was a partner at The Safety Zone, his family’s business that manufactures gloves and safety equipment. The company has locations around the globe and employs over 200 people worldwide. The Safety Zone was acquired by the Genuine Parts Corporation in 2016.

Lon is also active in public service, serving as the Chairman of the Essex Board of Education, a member of the Region 4 Board of Education, and as the Secretary / Treasurer of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. He was endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans for his re-election in 2021.

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