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Behind the scenes with Big Bang Theory's real-life astronaut actor
[i]On Thursday evening's (May 10) season finale of "The Big Bang Theory," a main character on the CBS TV sitcom launches into space. Sitting beside him in the spacecraft is Mike Massimino, a real NASA astronaut, making his second cameo appearance on the show.
Massimino, who in real life flew twice on the space shuttle to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope, joins aerospace engineer Howard Wolowitz, played by Simon Helberg, and a fictional cosmonaut as Expedition 31 crewmates aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule flying to the International Space Station.
The Soyuz and Sokol spacesuits the astronaut and actors board and wear are of course Hollywood replicas, but true to the show's reputation, are surprisingly realistic.
collectSPACE caught up with Massimino by phone a few hours before the episode was set to air to talk about being an astronaut on the show, the set and the future of space exploration, both for NASA and on "The Big Bang Theory."[/i]
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