El Camino College Welcomes NASA Astronaut to Onizuka Space Science Day

February 27, 2024 Torrance, CA

El Camino College welcomes NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio to Onizuka Space Science Day 2024, scheduled for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 16 at the college’s planetarium and science classrooms.

Sponsored by El Camino College, Honda, the El Camino College Foundation, and coordinated by the El Camino College Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Memorial Committee, Onizuka Space Science Day is dedicated to Ellison Onizuka, a Space Shuttle Challenger astronaut who perished along with six other crew members during the tragic events of 1986.

After listening to a presentation from astronaut Mastracchio, students in grades five through 12 will participate in a variety of hands-on science experiments and activities at this annual free event. Onizuka Space Science Day will continue rain or shine; registration is available online.

Mastracchio was selected as an astronaut in 1996. Since then, he has worked on technical issues for the Astronaut Office Computer Support Branch, Space Station Operations, the EVA (Spacewalking) Branch and as a Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM). He served as the display design lead for the space shuttle cockpit avionics upgrades in 2003, and from 2004 to 2009, he worked various Constellation and Orion tasks including cockpit design lead and constellation deputy branch chief.

A veteran of four spaceflights, Mastracchio flew as a mission specialist on STS-106 on Atlantis, STS-118 on Endeavor, STS-131 on Discovery, and a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. As of 2014, Mastracchio has logged 228 days in space spanning four missions, including nine spacewalks totaling 53 hours. This includes three unplanned spacewalks to replace a faulty cooling pump and a failed computer relay box.

Mastracchio is a Connecticut native who has a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering/computer science from the University of Connecticut, a Master of Science in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Master of Science in physical science from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

The El Camino Community College District encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation, or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact spaceday@elcamino.edu as soon as possible, but no later than seven days prior to the event.

For more information about Onizuka Space Science Day 2024, or to register, view www.elcamino.edu/academics/divisions/natural-sciences/onizuka-space-day/.