Sochi: The View From Space

NASA astronaut and UConn alum Rick Mastracchio tweeted this photo of Sochi and its surroundings on the Black Sea coast in advance of next month's Winter Olympics. He and his fellow astronauts at the International Space Station are taking pictures of Earth as the view speeds past at 17,500 miles an hour, 260 miles below them.

NASA astronaut and UConn alum Rick Mastracchio tweeted this photo of Sochi and its surroundings on the Black Sea coast in advance of next month’s Winter Olympics. He and his fellow astronauts at the International Space Station are taking pictures of Earth as the view speeds past at 17,500 miles an hour, 260 miles below them.

When the Winter Olympics begin in Sochi, Russia next month, members of the UConn community following the Games will include an alum who will be watching from the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut and UConn alumnus Rick Mastracchio ’82 (ENG) is among members of the Expedition 38 crew who arrived at the International Space Station on Nov. 7 and is scheduled to return in May.

In this wider-angle photo of Sochi from space, the snow is more clearly visible in the mountains.

In this wider-angle photo of Sochi from space, the snow is more clearly visible in the mountains.

The crew will have access to a special live video feed to watch the Winter Olympics, which begin Feb. 7. In the meantime, Mastracchio has spent some of his free time taking photos of Earth from the space station’s observatory cupola, including a photo of Sochi.

“When you are flying above all these different countries and all these different regions, and you see them as one big planet, it sure makes you wish that obviously folks can put aside their differences and … just get along with each other,” Mastracchio told NBC News during a recent interview. “Something that makes me very happy is to see the Olympics. I think it’s going to be exciting to get all the countries to come together, and even for that short period of time, work together.”

The flight engineer has flown to the space station four times since 2000 and, after two unplanned space walks during this expedition to repair a faulty coolant pump, has participated in a total of eight spacewalks.