The First Geocaching First-to-Find in Space

rick in space with Travel Bug
Rick Mastracchio with the International Space Station Travel Bug

An American astronaut Rick Mastracchio (AstroRM) enters the Geocaching history books. He logged the First-to-Find (FTF) on one of the most exclusive geocaches in existence. It’s a geocache hidden five years ago aboard the International Space Station. The geocache has orbited 260 miles above the Earth since geocaching pioneer and video game designer Richard Garriott created the geocache in 2008.

Signed logbook on the International Space Station geocache
Signed logbook on the International Space Station geocache

Astronaut Rick Mastracchio’s FTF log reads, “The geo space bug (TB5JJN1) has made it to the Russian Service Module, panel 218. He traveled from Waterbury, CT to Houston, TX to Cologne, Germany to Moscow, Star City Russia, to Baikonur Kazakhstan where it launched on a Russian Soyuz Rocket to the International Space Station. He has traveled around the space station and will continue to do so for the next 6 months. When he is not traveling he will be staying with me in my very small crew quarters. He hangs/floats on my wall and waits for more adventures while I do research and perform experiments here on ISS. Thanks for getting this little guy started Cizzors. Every journey starts with the first step and you took the first step of this one. Rick.”

Mastracchio thanked fellow Connecticut geocacher Robert Cizauskas (Cizzors) who first introduced the idea of geocaching to the astronaut. More than 26,000 geocachers at nearly 1,200 events around the world celebrated Geocaching in Space during Mastracchio’s launch into orbit.

The Travel Bug with Mission 38 hitchhikers to be delivered to schools back on Earth
The Travel Bug with hitchhikers to be delivered to schools back on Earth

The Travel Bug is riding along with Mastracchio on an educational mission. He’ll use the Travel Bug as a tool to teach kids back on Earth about geography and science.

The Travel Bug  is scheduled to return to Earth when Mastracchio finishes his six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.

The previous Travel Bug Richard Garriott carried to the space station remained on-board the ISS for three years. It accumulated more than 350 million miles as it orbited the Earth. That Travel Bug returned to Earth by one of the last U.S. Shuttle missions to visit the International Space Station.

Watch the video of Richard Garriott’s mission to space. Leave your best wishes for Rick Mastracchio below in comments.

  • Tartan_Terror

    Absolutely cool. What FTF.

  • z3r0_


  • Bandyrooster

    Rick, thanks for adding a new dimension to geocaching and keeping the game ever so interesting! We just never know where a new geocache will pop up or a Travel Bug adventures will take it. We in New Hampshire wish you well and thank you for taking the travel bug and posting pictures for us to see. Stay well!

  • Cheryl Stubbs

    Congrates on your FTF Thats so awesome

  • karenco

    Thank you for this wonderful and exciting geocaching adventure.

  • Cizzors

    Thank you to everyone for following along on this adventure.

  • Saved by God’s grace

    Awesome! As an Amateur Radio Operator, I hope to be able to contact Rick sometime while he’s in space…
    (If you hear someone from Florida, it might be me…)

  • Kirsten

    This is super cool!! Good like on your space voyage, my fellow geocacher. Thanks for making this hobby even cooler

  • Julie Lowery

    This is so inspirational, Rick! Thanks for taking geocaching along on your journey and for making education the primary focus!

  • Dorinda Gill

    WOW! What a great “find” to “log” in! It is so exciting that you found a TB that has been waiting for 5 years to be found!!!! Thanks for sharing your find with us “Earthlings”! 🙂

  • Karen Rektor

    I am new to the geocache world, so just trying to understand it all and can’t believe geocaching has been going on for years and I only am finding about it now! (56)! So the fact that you have taken one to space and put one under the sea is amazing, definitely sparked my interest even more and brought geocaching to the forefront! Thank you so much and congrats on your trip to space!!
    Karen Rektor

  • Dennis DeShazo

    Thanks for the positive exposure that you are giving geocaching. We appreciate all that you are doing in space.

  • Joe Broerman Team Joe & Joyce

    Five years in the making! Awesome.

  • MountainNinja

    Congratulation to AstroRM from Salzburg – Austria – Europe!!!

  • Odies Crew

    Fantastic FTF congratulations and don’t think this will be beat as the best FTF for a long time.

  • Salvatore Lo Giudice

    Rick !!!a beautiful treasure hunt. Congratulations on your discovery on the ISS

  • Bigguy In Texas

    Howdy AstroRM!

    Kudos to you on your fantastic journey into the geocaching record books! You are so cool to take geocaching to such heights. What you are doing to “ignite” and inspire our youth is fantastic. Good luck in your travels!

    Be sure to let me and the other cachers in Central Texas know when you come to Austin to do the much more accessible, Richard Garriot geocache called Necropolis of Brittania Manor III – GC2B034, and we will make it an event!

  • Bill Cone

    Congratulations from Town Plot! Our very own geoastrocacher!

  • Maico Radioamateur Suisse

    Complimenti !
    HB9OAE Maico from Switzerland.

  • dronnord

    very cool Rick You make us all proud to be a part of this game we love so much.

  • Doctor Owl

    Why isn’t this historic event front page news? All we got in Australia was something about some silly torch that got carried into space!
    Thanks for sharing this adventure with us.

  • shellyJ17

    Congrats’ on your FTF Rick. How kool are you? What an awesome teaching moment this presents to so many people- adults and children alike. Thanks for opening the door a little wider to the geocaching community by bringing this tag with you to space. A mission that is out of this world–literally. Ground control to Major Rick!! Godspeed to you all! shellyJ17 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • DieErdmännchen2012

    Rick, my thanks as well, for making possible such an outstanding geocache and Travel Bug adventure! You’re a lucky guy up there! I wish you all the best, and enjoy every single moment!
    Ricco L. (Leipzig/Germany)

  • Ocean Mermaid

    Heartiest congratulations Rick on what can only be described as the most awesome FTF ever!! I was introduced to geocaching by my family to literally help me to get back on my feet after quite major surgery on each ankle. It has taken me to some amazing ‘out of this world’ locations, but it really did take you to one! I regularly look out for the ISS using an ap on my phone and think of the crew orbiting our precious planet. Enjoy every minute of your unique experience and may you have a safe journey home. Happy geocaching!!

  • dragon flyer

    This is one of the few FTFs that’s in any sense meaningful…

  • Ajith Chelliah

    Fantastic! I watch the ISS fly over Melbourne Australia quite often when visibility permits. I have an app on my iPad which notifies me when you are flying over, so it will be great to know this FTF Travel Bug is on that little dot flying at some speed near the horizon the next time I track the ISS down!! All the best

  • Louise Maigret

    Gefeliciteerd! Dit is zo leuk! De eerste Geo in de ruimte
    Congrates! This is so nice! The first Geo in Space.
    Bye bye, from The Netherlands.

  • Periwinkle128

    Congrats on finding the most elusive cache! Wishing a safe return for all who are up there. Cache On!

  • Odyssey

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day and thank you for all you are doing to make space a new place for geocachers to think about. Safe travels!

  • AngelEyesRH

    With or without geocaching involved … I have a lot of respect for the astronauts and NASA!!! 😉

  • person#52

    hOW TO FIND IN SPACE, ISN’T gEOCACHING. no sattelites
    sorry for caps