Puerto Rican astronaut affected by double hurricanes

Joe Acaba, left, the first astronaut of Puerto Rican heritage, talks during an interview with The Associated Press alongside Italy’s Paolo Nespoli, center, and Mark Vande Hei from the International Space Station on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. Acaba offered words of comfort to Puerto Ricans enduring the wrath of Hurricane Maria. (NASA via AP)

The International Space Station’s Joe Acaba (AH-kah-bah), the first astronaut of Puerto Rican heritage, has been affected by two hurricanes—even in orbit.

In an interview from the Wednesday, Acaba offered words of comfort to Puerto Ricans enduring the wrath of Hurricane Maria. His parents were born in Hatillo, Puerto Rico, and he has lots of family there.

Just a few weeks ago, Acaba’s home in Houston was flooded by Hurricane Harvey. Acaba was in Russia then, getting ready for his launch. Friends and colleagues came to his rescue, yanking out walls and drying out his house.

Acaba—a former school teacher—arrived at the space station a week ago, along with fellow NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei (VAN-duh HI) and a Russian cosmonaut.

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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