Spacin’ Out

Although I’m known to just forget things and zone out, that’s not what I’m talking about here.

Instead, at this Saturday’s Aeros game, Astronauts Mario Runco and Lee Archambault will be signing autographs on the main concourse when doors open as well as dropping the ceremonial first puck. Cosmo (NASA Mascot) will be joining Chilly for the night and they’ll both be available for pictures as well.

NASA employees can click here for tickets.

I talked with Mario for a while today. Turns out he’s a big hockey fan and plays in a few leagues over at Space City Ice Station (the Old Hounds League and the Afterburners League). Mario also refs, and has some pro officiating experience in the old Eastern League.

But of course, he’s most well known for, you know, walking in space (you’ve never been?). Check out this picture of him wearing his Aeros jersey on the Space Shuttle.

After he told me how he went to Florida for the final launch of the Space Shuttle recently, I told him how I was lucky enough to see a nighttime launch of the Shuttle while visiting family in Kissimmee, some 70 miles from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Even from that distance, the whole sky lit up and it was still extremely loud. He joked that it’s a much better view from the ground than it is from inside.

At any rate, come out and say hello to Mario and Lee, or you can head over to the Space City rink and maybe play against them.

A little background info…

Runco, also a long time hockey player and a referee, played collegiate hockey for the CCNY Beavers and currently plays with Lee in leagues at the local Space City Ice Station Rink.  Mario, a former Navy Oceanographer, is a veteran of three space flights STS-44, 54, & 77 aboard the Shuttles ATLANTIS and ENDEAVOUR.  His  23 days in space includes a four and half hour spacewalk during his 2nd mission.  On his STS-77 mission he flew a Houston Aeros jersey and puck with him space.

Archambault was the pilot of STS-117 and Commander of STS-119 aboard the Space Shuttles ATLANTIS and DISCOVERY and spent a total of 27 days in space. He’s a long time hockey player, played collegiate hockey for the University of Illinois Fighting Illini and currently coaches and plays in leagues at the local Space City Ice Station Rink.

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