Former spacewalking astronaut revels in a brief foray outside Capitol Hill home

Ten times in his career as a NASA astronaut, Michael Lopez-Alegria ventured outside the safety of his spacecraft into the harshness and vastness of space.

Wearing a bulky and confining spacesuit, Lopez-Alegria spent more than 67 hours toiling in the void and blackness of space.

With the coronavirus enforcing teleworking, remote learning and social distancing, Lopez Alegria, 61, commander of International Space Station, Expedition 14, reveled in a brief foray outside his Capitol Hill home Friday.

“I heard some music outside and I went outside and there were some folks gathering on the corner, very respectful of the idea of social distancing…there was some live music…coming from the second floor of a house nearby with all the windows open,” said Lopez-Alegria, a veteran of more than 257 days in space.

He was careful to note that all people he saw stood several feet away from each other as music filled the air.

“I listened to it for a while, and when I came inside, I was surprised by how much my mood had improved by that slight contact with society. I thought that was pretty telling,” said Lopez-Alegria.

Born in Spain and raised in California, the Naval Academy graduate expressed concern for all Americans and family members in Spain.

“I do have quite a bit of family there…it’s a tough situation, unprecedented in our lifetime, but I’m confident we’ll get through it,” said Lopez-Alegria.

“I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned from having spent a lot of time in space, which, I would argue is, in some ways, similar to the confinement they’re all facing now, but the overarching message is to stay positive,” Lopez-Alegria continued.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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