Nightly News   |  January 06, 2014

Life on the International Space Station

Astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins tell NBC's Brian Williams about what it's like to work on the ISS and why – if you have to work during the holidays -- there's "not too many places better than being here."

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally here tonight, it is not easy to conduct an interview with somebody moving over 17,000 miles an hour, but that is exactly what we did earlier today. we talked to the two americans who are currently on board the international space station . veteran astronauts, both americans were the space walkers recently in the mission to repair an on-board pump. and with that behind them we talked about life on space today, especially with the space station getting so much attention as of late. first off, what is it like working with sandra bullock ?

>> we have yet to see her up here, but we continue to look for her.

>> what has the movie "gravity" done to the astronaut business and the international space station ?

>> i think any time you bring attention to the space program , i know i personally get very excited about it. because we really enjoy what we do up here and we think it is great when the american public pays attention and understands exactly what we're doing up here.

>> you orbit roughly every 90 minutes and travel the distance from the earth to the moon on a daily basis. there is no sense of speed or motion at 17,000-plus miles an hour?

>> yeah, that is correct, you really don't get the sense of the speed until you look out the window windows and see just how fast the earth is going by below you.

>> home sickness can't be an option for people in your line of work, but what is it like being up there for the holidays? some terrific college football games, the nfl playoffs ?

>> the way we think about it, if you have to be away from home during the holidays there are not many places better to be than here. we have opportunities to call home almost every day and have video confessing with our families about once a week, and of course we have e-mail. and as far as football goes, we both enjoy it and the ground is very happy to send us football events every now and then.

>> you guys had had commander chris hatfield of canada up there, who famously recorded space odyssey , ground control to major tom , the first time it has ever been done. you really made the grade.

>> i don't know what you plan to top that with, whether there is a spring production of "hello, dolly" in the works.

>> well, it would be hard to top commander hatfield , chris hatfield . and really, to be honest, you don't want to hear rick or i sing, it wouldn't be very good.

>> what is it that you would like people to know and understand about the international space station ?

>> i think the most important thing to know is nasa never went out of business. the shuttle program ended but the space station program is going strong . we're up here doing research 365 days a year, and have been doing so for many, many years and nasa has a bright future ahead of it.

>> good sports and great guys, sports veteran space travellers, and turns out, nightly news viewers, they told us today this broadcast is part of their lunchtime routine every day in space, making them our most distant viewers, thank you both,