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Christopher John "Chris" Cassidy (born January 4, 1970, in Salem, Massachusetts) is a NASA astronaut and United States Navy SEAL. Chris Cassidy achieved the rank of Captain in the U.S. Navy. He currently serves as Chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA.

Cassidy attended York High School, in York, Maine.[1] He then graduated from the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1989. He received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the United States Naval Academy in 1993 and a Master's degree in ocean engineering from MIT in 2000. While in the Navy, Cassidy passed BUD/S and became a Navy SEAL. While a SEAL he served several tours of duty supporting the fight in the War on Terror. He resides in York, Maine with his wife, Julie Byrd, and their three children.[1][2] His first spaceflight was on Space Shuttle mission STS-127, and his second was as a flight engineer for Expedition 35/36, launched aboard Soyuz TMA-08M. He was in space between July 15–31, 2009 and March 28 – September 10, 2013. Cassidy has worked as a CAPCOM[1] for both International Space Station and Space Shuttle missions in the past.

Military experienceEdit

Cassidy graduated from BUD/S Class 192. He served for ten years as a member of the Navy SEALs. His specializations in military tactics include long range special reconnaissance (vehicular and foot patrols), direct action building assaults, non-compliant ship-boardings, desert reconnaissance patrols, combat diving, underwater explosives, and a variety of air operations, including parachuting, fast roping, and rappelling. He made four six-month deployments: two to Afghanistan, and two to the Mediterranean Sea. Cassidy served as Executive Officer and Operations Officer of Special Boat Team 20 in Norfolk, Virginia, and SEAL Platoon Commander at SEAL Team 3 in Coronado, California. He deployed to the Afghanistan region two weeks after the September 11 attacks. He served as Ground Assault Force Commander for international and U.S.-only combat missions in Afghanistan. Cassidy led two months of non-compliant ship-boardings in the Northern Persian Gulf. Cassidy was also a SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) Platoon Commander at SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team Two in Norfolk. He accumulated over 200 hours underwater as Pilot / Navigator / Mission Commander of a two-man flooded submersible (SDV), which is launched and recovered from a host-ship submarine. He also served as Dry Deck Shelter Platoon Commander at SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team Two in Norfolk. Cassidy volunteered for and completed a week-long, 180-mile charity kayak paddle from Norfolk, Virginia to Washington, D.C. to raise money and awareness for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.[1]

NASA careerEdit

STS-127 EVA3 Cassidy

Cassidy participating in the third EVA of the STS-127 mission.

Cassidy was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in May 2004. In February 2006 he completed Astronaut Candidate Training, which included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in Space Shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training, T-38 Talon flight training, and water and wilderness survival training. Completion of this initial training qualified him for various technical assignments within the Astronaut Office and future flight assignment as a mission specialist.[1]

He was a Mission Specialist on STS-127, and performed a total of three spacewalks to help install and complete components of the Japanese Experiment Module.[3]

Cassidy has been assigned to the Expedition 35 crew as a flight engineer and flew to the ISS aboard Soyuz TMA-08M (US designation: 34S), which launched on March 28, 2013.[1][4] On May 11, 2013, Cassidy and Thomas Marshburn performed an unplanned spacewalk to replace a pump controller box suspected to be the source of an ammonia coolant leak.[5][6]

ISS-36 EVA-3 (d) Chris Cassidy

Cassidy's space selfie.

Cassidy participated in two US spacewalks from the ISS in June/July 2013.[4] On July 16, 2013, he was joined by Luca Parmitano on a spacewalk. The EVA was cut short when Parmitano reported water floating behind his head inside his helmet.[7] During the EVA, Cassidy took his space selfie. That photo became one of the best selfies of 2013 listed by many news sites.[8][9]

Cassidy was named Chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA in July 2015, succeeding Robert L. Behnken.[10]

Awards and honorsEdit

Cassidy is an honor graduate of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S) Class 192. He was awarded the Bronze Star with "V" device and the Presidential Unit Citation for leading a 9-day operation at the Zhawar Kili cave complex – a national priority objective directly on the Afghan/Pakistan border during Operation Enduring Freedom. Cassidy was a guest speaker at the USNA Combat Leadership Seminar (2003 & 2004). He was awarded a second Bronze Star for combat leadership service in 2004 during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.[1]

Chris Cassidy is also the 500th person in space. He achieved this by being the designated crew member by the rest of his crew mates, during the STS-127 mission.[11] He is also the second SEAL to fly in space following William Shepherd, a veteran of four prior missions.

Awards and decorationsEdit

Gold star
Bronze Star Medal ribbon.svg
Bronze Star with valor device and award star
Combat Action Ribbon.svg Combat Action Ribbon
United States Navy Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg Presidential Unit Citation
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg
National Defense Service Medal with service star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal ribbon.svg Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal ribbon.svg Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.svg Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
NASA Exceptional Achievement Ribbon.png NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal
SpaceFltRib.gif NASA Space Flight Medal


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Astronaut Bio: Chris Cassidy (3/2011)". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. March 2011. Retrieved March 30, 2013. 
  2. "Template:Citation error". Archived from the original on July 13, 2009. Retrieved July 20, 2009. 
  3. NASA (2008). "NASA Assigns Crews for STS-127 and Expedition 19 Missions". NASA. Retrieved February 11, 2008. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harding, Pete (March 28, 2013). "Soyuz TMA-08M docks with ISS just six hours after launch". NASASpaceflight. Retrieved March 30, 2013. 
  5. Pearlman, Robert Z. (May 11, 2013). "Unplanned Spacewalk a 'Precedent-Setting' Move for Space Station Crew". TechMediaNetwork, Inc.. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  6. NASA (May 11, 2013). "Astronauts Complete Spacewalk to Repair Ammonia Leak". NASA. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  7. "Astronaut Chris Cassidy Takes a Photo". NASA. Retrieved December 27, 2013. 
  8. Template:Cite news
  9. "The 13 Most Important Selfies of 2013". Daily Life. December 12, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2013. 
  10. Nicole, Cloutier-Lemasters. "NASA Astronaut Chris Cassidy New Chief of Astronaut Office". NASA. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  11. Robert Z. Pearlman (2011). "500th Person to Space Launching on Shuttle Endeavour". Retrieved June 1, 2011. 

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Robert L. Behnken
Chief of the Astronaut Office
Succeeded by
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