WASHINGTON, June 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — NASA astronaut and former U.S. Navy Capt. Chris Cassidy has retired from the agency’s astronaut corps after 17 years of service. His last day at NASA was Friday, May 28.
In his career, Cassidy accumulated 378 days in space. Of that time, he spent 54 hours, 51 minutes outside of the International Space Station over the course of 10 spacewalks.
“It’s been an amazing run,” Cassidy said in a video posted to his Instagram account. “I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities, both on the ground, in the air, and in space and underwater. I’m so privileged and feel so lucky that I’ve got to work with the folks that I have, had the mentors that I’ve had, the friendships I’ve developed all around the world, and I just want to say thank you.”
Cassidy arrived at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in May 2004 as an astronaut candidate after serving 11 years as a Navy SEAL. He went on to complete three spaceflights, STS–127 aboard space shuttle Endeavour, and space station Expeditions 35 and 63. On his shuttle mission in 2009, he became the 500th person in history to fly to space, and helped deliver and install the final two components of the space station’s Japanese Experiment Module, Kibo, and the Exposed Facility and Experiment Logistics Module. He flew again in 2013 and 2020 as a crew member of Expeditions 35 and 63 respectively, launching to the station aboard two Russian Soyuz spacecraft and contributing to hundreds of hours of scientific investigations and station upgrades. During his July 16, 2013, spacewalk, he helped ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano to safety after Parmitano experienced a cooling water leak into his helmet, covering his face with water, and forcing the spacewalkers to return to the station airlock.
Cassidy also supported NASA astronauts on the ground in a variety of roles. He served as capsule communicator, or capcom, in the Mission Control Center at Johnson. He became the extracurricular activity branch chief, leading the ground teams that plan spacewalks and ensure astronaut safety. In 2015, Cassidy became chief of the Astronaut Office, a role now held by NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman.
“It’s been an honor working with Chris throughout his career at NASA,” Wiseman said. “He’s been a great mentor not just to me, but for all of the astronauts who are following in his footsteps. He is an astronaut and officer with admirable leadership and character qualities. We will certainly miss him and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Cassidy is a York, Maine, native with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland; a master’s degree in ocean engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and an honorary doctorate from Husson University, Bangor, Maine.
Find Chris Cassidy’s full NASA biography here:
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