Christopher Cassidy

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Christopher Cassidy
Christopher John Cassidy

(1970-01-04) January 4, 1970 (age 50)
Alma materUSNA, B.S. 1993
MIT, M.S. 2000
OccupationNavy SEAL
Space career
NASA Astronaut
RankCaptain, USN
Time in space
181 days, 23 hours
Selection2004 NASA Group 19
Total EVAs
Total EVA time
31 hours and 14 minutes
MissionsSTS-127, Soyuz TMA-08M (Expedition 35/36)
Mission insignia
STS-127 patch.png Soyuz-TMA-08M-Mission-Patch.png ISS Expedition 35 Patch.png ISS Expedition 36 Patch.png

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 was the Chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA from July 2015 until June 2017.

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 degree in Mathematics from the United States Naval Academy in 1993 and a Master of Science 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. 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 July 15 to 31, 2009, and March 28 to September 10, 2013. Cassidy has worked as a CAPCOM[1] for both International Space Station and Space Shuttle missions in the past.

Married to Julie Byrd.[2]

Military experience[edit]

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, or mission commander of a two-man flooded submersible SDV, which is launched and recovered from a host-ship submarine. He also served as drydeck 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 career[edit]

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]

Expedition 35/36[edit]

Cassidy was 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]

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 (right), pictured with crew member Luca Parmitano

Chief of the Astronaut Office[edit]

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

On June 2, 2017, Cassidy was replaced by Patrick G. Forrester as Chief of the Astronaut Office and was returned to normal flight status.

Awards and honors[edit]

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 decorations[edit]

Gold star
Bronze Star with valor device and award star
Combat Action Ribbon
Presidential Unit Citation
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal with service star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal
NASA Space Flight Medal


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

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Astronaut Bio: Chris Cassidy (3/2011)". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. March 2011. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ NASA (2008). "NASA Assigns Crews for STS-127 and Expedition 19 Missions". NASA. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
  4. ^ a b 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. ^ Catcher, Jessica (December 11, 2013). "16 Legendary Selfies of 2013". Mashable. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  9. ^ "The 13 Most Important Selfies of 2013". Daily Life. December 12, 2013. Archived from the original on December 28, 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 links[edit]

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