Waterbury Astronaut On Board the International Space Station

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Rick Mastracchio is on board the International Space Station. NASA says the pumps to the cooling system shut down, and experts on the ground were trying to troubleshoot. (Published Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013)

    A Waterbury astronaut is in the middle of a situation up in space. Rick Mastracchio is on board The International Space Station, which NASA says is dealing with a problem with the cooling system.

    NBC Connecticut spoke with Mastracchio's sister at her home in Waterbury about the problems her brother is facing and she said she is very worried.

    “I got scared…I got really scared,” said Lori McManamy, who is waiting to get more information from her brother. “I’m going to try to email him and see what the scoop is."

    NASA confirmed the issue on board the International Space Station on Wednesday.  The pumps to the cooling system shut down, leading experts on the ground to try to troubleshoot the problem.

    “He’s probably not nervous at all," McManamy said. "It's probably not a big deal to them…things happen."

    Mastraccio posted pictures of his experiments and his view of the Atlantic Ocean on his Twitter account Wednesday.  He made no mention of the issue. 

    NASA says the malfunction, which does not present a danger to the crew on board, may require a spacewalk to make repairs. McManamy said her brother could step in and help with the fix.

    “He was hoping to do a spacewalk when he’s up there,” she said.

    If he does, hundreds of students in Waterbury might get to see it.  Eleven schools were following the journey of the Brass City native since he launched Nov. 6.

    McManamy said her brother has dealt with problems on past trips in space, and told NBC Connecticut he was ready for the challenge. “They’re trained for it...he's trained for last three or four years and they’re well prepared for everything they have to do,” his sister added.

    McManamy said her brother was scheduled to land on May 14 of next year, and if he had to abort the mission he would be devastated.