News

Grad speech from space

Grad speech from space

HELLO, FROM SPACE!:Rick Mastracchio works to replace a pump in a spacesuit aboard the International Space Station. Mastracchio, a University of Connecticut alumnus, is scheduled to deliver the school's commencement address on May 10 from aboard the International Space Station. Mastracchio served as a commencement speaker for his alma mater, the University of Connecticut. Photo: Associated Press

By Richard Weizel

STORRS Conn. (Reuters) – University of Connecticut alumnus Rick Mastracchio took a break from orbiting the globe on the International Space Station to deliver an address to students graduating from the university’s School of Engineering on Saturday.

With a large black UConn banner and UConn baseball cap floating behind him, Mastracchio hovered between two space suits and spun upside down several times during the pre-recorded address for the 400 graduates and a crowd of about 5,000 at the university.

“I could not be there with you on this big day, but being in space I was trying to figure out how to make this speech different than all the other commencement addresses that are given each year,” he said.

“And then I realized – I’m in a weightless environment. So maybe, I should give the speech in a different orientation.”

Mastracchio, 54, who is on an eight-month stint on the space station, then floated upside down, before spinning back to an upright position, bringing laughs and cheers from graduates and their families.

“I probably have the best job on and off the planet,” he said.

Kazem Kazerounian, dean of the engineering school, who set up the speech from space, said: “Many of us, faculty and students, were inspired to become engineers because of space exploration and this was a perfect way to bring more reality to our dreams.”

Mastracchio, who will return to Earth next week aboard a Russian spacecraft after completing his fourth trip into space, had a final message as he grabbed and put on the UConn baseball cap.

“Go Huskies,” he said, referring to the nickname for the school’s sports teams, as he spun upside down again.

Recent Headlines

5 hours ago in Music

Don McLean pleads not guilty in domestic violence case

donmclean

The "American Pie" singer was arrested last month.

5 hours ago in Entertainment

Hugh Jackman had skin cancer – again

hughjackman

The "X-Men" star is recovering after his fifth skin cancer surgery in two years.

7 hours ago in Music

Lemmy to be immortalized outside his favorite bar

lemmy

A fundraising campaign is underway to pay for a life-sized Lemmy statue at the Rainbow Bar & Grill in L.A.

10 hours ago in Viral Videos

Elton John carpool karaoke

19-overlay

James Corden asks Elton John to help him navigate Los Angeles on a rainy day.

11 hours ago in Music

Metallica isn’t holding their breath for a Super Bowl invitation

metallicahetfield

The band says have their doubts that they'd ever be asked to do the Super Bowl halftime show.