Commander Christopher Cassidy, USN
Commander Chris Cassidy is a 1993 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy; he received a degree in Mathematics and went on to become a Navy SEAL. He was the honor graduate of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Class 192. He was also awarded the Bronze Star with combat ‘V’ and Presidential Unit Citation for leading a nine-day operation at the Zharwar Kili cave complex – a national priority objective directly on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. In addition, he was awarded a second Bronze Star for combat leadership service in Afghanistan in 2004 and is a recipient of the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal.
Commander Cassidy spent ten years as a member of the U.S. Navy SEALs. His specialized tactics include long-range special reconnaissance (vehicular and foot patrols), direct action building assaults, noncompliant ship-boardings, desert reconnaissance patrols, combat diving, underwater explosives, and a variety of air operations to include parachuting, fast roping, and rappelling. He made four six-month deployments: two to Afghanistan, and two to the Mediterranean. Cassidy served as Executive Officer and Operations Officer of Special Boat Team Twenty in Norfolk, Virginia, and SEAL Platoon Commander at SEAL Team THREE in Coronado, California. He deployed to the Afghanistan region two weeks after 9/11/01, served as Ground Assault Force Commander for international and U.S.-only combat missions in Afghanistan, and led two months of noncompliant ship-boardings in the Northern Arabian Gulf. He was SEAL Delivery Vehicle Platoon Commander at SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team TWO in Norfolk, VA. He also served as Dry Deck Shelter Platoon Commander at SEAL Delivery Team TWO in Norfolk, VA.
Cassidy was selected by NASA in May 2004. Completion of this initial training qualified him for various technical assignments within the Astronaut Office and future flight assignment as a mission specialist. From 2006 to 2008, he served as Capsule Commander (CAPCOM) in Mission Control. During his NASA career, Cassidy completed six spacewalks, totaling 31 hours, 14 minutes and accumulated 182 days in space. His space flight experience includes STS-127, International Space Station Assembly Mission 2J/A, onboard the shuttle Endeavor. The crew completed the construction of the KIBO Japanese Experiment Module, installed scientific experiments on its Exposed Facility and delivered critical spare parts and replacement batteries to the orbital complex, in addition to transferring 24,638 pounds of hardware and 1,225 pounds of water to the station.
Cassidy’s most recent mission was Expedition 35/36 (March 28 to September 11, 2013). Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station. Cassidy, Vinogradov and Misurkin were welcomed to the space station by Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency, Tom Marshburn of NASA and Roman Romanenko of Roscosmos. The crew members saw the arrival of the European ATV-4 cargo spacecraft, the Japanese HTV-4 cargo spacecraft and two Russian Progress resupply spacecraft. The trio also worked on hundreds of research experiments and science investigations that will have benefits for future human spaceflight and life on Earth. Cassidy conducted three spacewalks during his 166 days aboard the station. During the expedition, the crew completed 2,656 orbits of the Earth and traveled more than 70 million miles.