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The Beat of New York

Paul 'Cubby' Bryant


Rick Mastracchio, an astronaut who attended the University of Connecticut’s school of engineering, offered the program’s graduating students a different perspective when he gave their commencement speech 260 miles overhead. The 54-year-old astronaut, who is currently doing an eight-month stint at the International Space Station, gave the pre-recorded address between two space suits while a UConn banner and UConn baseball cap floated behind him. ... Mastracchio said, “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. And then I realized — I’m in a weightless environment. So maybe, I should give the speech in a different orientation.” Mastracchio then floated briefly upside down, as the 400 graduates and crowd of about 5,000 laughed and cheered.

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