Later this month, University of Connecticut alum Rick Mastracchio will tell the engineering school's graduating seniors to reach for the stars (we hope) in a commencement speech from aboard the International Space Station. He'll be the third astronaut to give a graduation speech from space.
The university announced the cosmic speaker back in March, saying that he will receive an honorary doctorate during the ceremony on May 10.
Now, 8 days before the graduation ceremony, earth-bound school officials are starting to get a little bit nervous. Engineering school Dean Kazem Kazerounian told the Associated Press that "we have never tried anything like this before, and I know that the world will be watching us. So, while I'm excited, I still have to have my fingers crossed." Mastracchio, currently on his fourth space mission, recorded the address over the weekend and has sent it to NASA, which converted and sent the file to UConn this week. Barring any glitches, the talk will be broadcast to 5,000 people next Saturday.
Mastracchio seems like an excellent choice for the job. He has participated in live chats from space and uses regularly uses Twitter to report back on space things to people on this planet:
An 'EVA Selfie' of me. Notice the Earth reflected in my visor. pic.twitter.com/ABjOWakyzF— Rick Mastracchio (@AstroRM) April 25, 2014
Worked 8 hours in airlock replacing pump in spacesuit. Many very small pieces which makes tough work in 0 G pic.twitter.com/I4kFrFm2jw— Rick Mastracchio (@AstroRM) April 14, 2014
The other two astronauts who gave graduation speeches both spoke in the University of North Dakota -- astronaut Karen Nyberg delivered an address in August, and astronaut Mike Fincke made a broadcast cameo appearance during a 2004 speech by a former Nasa chief.
We have a feeling Mastracchio's talk will be pretty inspirational.