Send your selfie into space with space station crew

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HOUSTON, TX – A Russian, a Japanese guy and a dude from Connecticut take off for space… sounds like the setup to bad joke, but it’s actually the next crew headed to the International Space Station on Expedition 38 in November. Johnson Space Center trotted them out this week to speak to the media and to hype the fact that you can join them onboard.

“As I do my tweets on a regular basis,” explains Rick Mastracchio, who will be heading to the ISS for the fourth time, “every once in a while, about once a month, I’ll send out a simple question. And the first one to answer that question correctly gets to fly. They send their picture to me and I’m gonna fly their picture into orbit with me and I’m gonna take a picture of their picture floating in the window, so they’re actually in orbit with me.”

Rick’s Twitter handle is “AstroRM,” and he hinted a new trivia question would be posted before the end of the month.

Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin will see his third long-term stay aboard the ISS while Koichi Wakata, the first Japanese ever to command the space station, will also be making his fourth spaceflight.  He and Rick have a long history together. “Rick showed me the Johnson Space Center when I first arrived here in July of 1992, so I was really impressed with the facility,” he says with a smile. “(Rick) was the tour guide at the time and, later on, he became an astronaut.”

Wow! Talk about climbing the career ladder!

Rick spent nine years applying to become a NASA astronaut, and he offers this advice for wannabe future spacewalkers: “Find something that you really enjoy and become really good at it, become the best at it if you can… Masters, Ph.D.s– whatever you can do…. It takes a lot of time; it takes a lot of effort. (But) if you’re doing something you really enjoy, even if you don’t get selected as an astronaut, you have a great career to fall back on.”

Stellar advice from a guy whose career definitely took off!