HOUSTON, Aug. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In early August, NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio departs Houston for a mission of gratitude and honor. Mastracchio, along with fellow astronaut and U.S. Navy Captain Butch Wilmore, will visit military troops at bases in Greenland, Guantanamo Bay and Puerto Rico to share their experiences living and working in space with the men and women serving in remote locations.
"I am excited to visit with our military personnel on the upcoming tour," said Mastracchio. "They are inspiring folks by doing great work and I will enjoy talking to them about their work, as well as the interesting work we do at NASA."
Like members of the military, both astronauts have experience serving in a remote location. Expedition crews orbiting 250 miles above Earth now spend on average six months away from home, friends and family while onboard the International Space Station. Two members of the current expedition crew will each spend a full year in orbit before returning home.
The military morale tour was organized by Rob Powers, veteran and founder of American300.org through a partnership with Armed Forces Entertainment.
"Our tours bring accomplished individuals to remote military bases around the world to spend quality time with service members, offering not only their personal stories, but a knowing ear and shoulder heavy in experience," said Powers. "Our mentors and those whom they serve grow from the exchanges in a positive, productive manner, developing a sense of hope and understanding of the human dimensions capabilities."
Mastracchio and Wilmore are both veteran astronauts with a combined four space shuttle flights, 13 spacewalks and two space station expeditions totaling 406 days in space between them.
Mastracchio graduated from Crosby High School, Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1978; received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science from the University of Connecticut in 1982, a Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1987, and a Master of Science Degree in Physical Science from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 1991.
A veteran of four spaceflights, Mastracchio flew as a Mission Specialist on STS-106 on Space Shuttle Atlantis, STS-118 on Endeavor, STS-131 on Discovery and served on ISS as a Flight Engineer during Expedition 38/39. Mastracchio has logged 228 days in space spanning four missions, including nine spacewalks totaling 53 hours.
Armed Forces Entertainment is the official Department of Defense agency for providing entertainment to U.S. military personnel serving overseas, with priority given to those in contingency operations and at remote and isolated locations. The Department of the Air Force is the executive agent of Armed Forces Entertainment. Founded in 1951, Armed Forces Entertainment brings a touch of home to more than 500,000 troops annually, embracing the best of Americana that stretches across all genres of entertainment.
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Follow astronauts Mastracchio and Wilmore, as well as their colleagues, on Twitter at @NASA_Astronauts.
For more information on Armed Forces Entertainment, visit: www.armedforcesentertainment.com, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
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