Here's the surprising thing astronaut Mike Massimino misses most about space

astronaut Mike MassiminoMassimino peers through the flight deck window while refurbishing and upgrading the Hubble Space Telescope in 2009.NASA/Wikimedia Commons

Astronaut Mike Massimino has logged a ton of time in space. Between his two launches in 2002 and 2009, he's floated around in weightlessness for about three and a half weeks total.

That's a lot of time, when you consider all of the insane living modifications astronauts must make when spending 24 hours in cramped quarters.

And when you spend a lot of time in one place with a small group of people, you're bound to get nostalgic about a few things after touching back down on land.

At a reception for the opening night of an opera called "The Astronaut's Tale" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music January 28, Massimino told Tech Insider what he misses most from his two space flights.

It's not the feeling of weightlessness, or the disorientation he felt the first time he went upside down, or even the food.

"I miss the camaraderie of my crew mates," Massimino said. "I miss going into work every day and having fun with my friends."

Mike Massimino and crewMassimino (back row, second from left) poses with crewmates from the STS-125 mission on the flight deck of the Earth-orbiting Space Shuttle Atlantis.NASA

NASA takes special care to select each of its teams not only for their expertise and health, but for their personality as well. NASA scientists put astronauts through a rigorous series of mental and psychological testing, selecting candidates who can be good team players under pressure.

"[S]omeone who's easygoing and has good social skills," reports.

It's no wonder, then, that a space crew that bonds over such an incredible experience will come away with friendships that will last a lifetime.

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