FOXBORO — Patriots public relations chief Stacey James held an iPad in the middle of the locker room Thursday while Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Zoltan Mesko and Rob Gronkowski  took turns speaking into it while holding a cell phone.
On the the other end of the connection was Sunita Williams several hundred miles above Earth in the International Space Station, which is very appropriately the size and width of a football field.
She graduated from Needham High School in 1983 and has been a Patriots fan through thick and thin. She holds the record for the longest space walk ever by a female. But on Thursday, she was in front of video terminal talking to three people from her favorite team.
Williams, who went up on her current mission in July, is scheduled to live and work aboard the station through the end of this month.
“Take some pictures and send them down to us,” Gronkowski told her. “That’d be great.”
What seemed to really impress Gronkowski was the amount of armor and equipment the astronauts carry, up to 300 pounds worth.
“It’s not that difficult for us,” Gronk said. “Aren’t your suits way heavier than ours? Yeah, our armor is about five to six pounds. It’s a lot less than 300 pounds.”
Williams has been keeping close tabs on her Patriots as they return from the bye at 5-3 to play the Bills Sunday at Gillette.
“We prepared pretty well this week,” Gronk told Williams. “We have another practice [Friday]. We’re definitely ready after this bye week to get back to playing some games for sure.
“It was nice talking to you and get back safe.
After giving the phone back to James, Gronk made the following observation about the discussion over , “Wow, there’s an incredible, weird delay.”
And you thought London was a long trip.