NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken were in the spotlight after their trip to the International Space Station (ISS) earlier this month when SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule was first used. Did you know, however, that another American is currently in orbit? Outpost?
His name is Chris Cassidy (below) and he came to the space station on a Soyuz spacecraft in April 2020 with two Russian cosmonauts, Ivan Vagner and Anatoli Ivanishin.
Who is Chris Cassidy?
In the NASA video below, 50-year-old Cassidy says he first came up with the idea of becoming an astronaut after meeting Bill Shepherd, a NASA astronaut who served as Commander of Expedition 1 in 2000/2001 – the first ISS mission with crew. Cassidy said he had recognized that he had a similar background to Shepherd and was working towards his goal.
The former U.S. Navy SEAL was selected by the space agency in 2004 and completed its astronaut candidate training in 2006.
From 2006 to 2008, Cassidy, who grew up in Maine, worked as a capsule communicator at NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas.
He then received the role of support astronaut in the Space Shuttle Closeout Crew between 2009 and 2011, with tasks such as strapping the crew and closing and sealing the access hatch for the flight.
Cassidy later served as department head for extravehicular activities before being appointed deputy head of the astronaut office in 2015. After four months as a deputy, he became NASA's 14th chief astronaut in July 2015, where he was responsible for flight tasks, mission preparation and support for US crews in orbit as well as organizing support for astronaut offices for future launch vehicles.
Today Cassidy serves as the commander on board the ISS as part of the Expedition 63 mission with Hurley, Behnken and the two Russians. You will hear more about him later this week when he takes a space walk with Behncken.
He has already been on two other space missions – the STS-127 Space Shuttle Mission to the ISS in 2009 and Expedition 35 to the ISS in 2013.
You can follow Cassidy on Twitter to learn more about his life on the space station. The astronaut expects to return to Earth in October 2020 after a six-month stay at the orbiting outpost.
In 2013 he gave a short tour of the ISS. You can see it below.