Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/18/14

“Ground control to Major Gronk,” some Patriots players harmoniously bellowed as they walked by tight end Rob Gronkowski in the locker room on Thursday. The teasing song was referring to Gronk, Zoltan Mesko and Patriots owner Robert Kraft Skyping with an astronaut from the United States Space Station. But the woman on the other end was more than just your everyday astronaut — if there is such a thing. Sunita Williams, 47, of Needham, Mass. was the spacewalker on the line with some of her favorite Patriots. The video player wasn’t working in the Patriots locker room, so Williams could see the Patriots but they were unable to get a shot of her on the iPad. But even that couldn’t stop the chat, as Kraft and the players resorted to a telephone to continue the conversation. The lifelong Pats fan exchanged pleasantries with Kraft and swapped stories about her hometown of Euclid, Ohio with Mesko, a fellow Euclid native. She even answered some profound questions from Gronk, including “are you floating right now?” The conversation was full of laughter, excitement — from both Williams and the Patriots — and some good football talk. Aside from being a huge Patriots fan, though, Williams is also a decorated astronaut. During a mission back in 2007, she set a then record the record for longest spacewalk by a woman, totaling 29 hours and 17 minutes over the course of four walks. She does still hold the record for most days in space by a woman, lasting 195 days during that 2007 trip. This time around, Williams, who launched on July 14 and is set to return later in November, was going up for a shorter trip but an elongated stay nonetheless. Gronk, Kraft and Mesko were all fascinated by Williams’ accomplishments, along with there mere opportunity to speak with her. Mesko was so enthralled by the experience that he even tweeted about his favorite part afterward — although only jokingly. “@MrRodrigues2: @ZoltanMesko Best part of skyping an astronaut while they're in space?” Having them catch one of my punts! Haha jk— Zoltan Mesko (@ZoltanMesko) November 08, 2012 That was definitely a unique experience for Kraft, Gronk and Mesko — likewise for anyone able to witness such an unusual yet awesome occurrence. But Williams was equally excited at the opportunity, and after nearly five months in space it’s likely just what she needed to bring her back to earth. Even if only figuratively. Check out some of the sweet photos of the Skype session below. Zoltan is skyping with an astronaut on a space station http://t.co/c4fWjmEc— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) November 08, 2012 Now Gronk joins in on the fun. "Are you floating right now?" http://t.co/j1BjMSwa— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) November 08, 2012 Gronk, Mesko & Kraft chatting w/ Suni Williams, an astronaut (& Pats fan from Mass!) aboard a @NASA Space Station: http://t.co/5JQTGtqm— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 08, 2012 Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter @LukeFHughes or send it here.

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  • And so after nearly five months in space it’s likely just what she needed to bring her back to Earth.
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