Chris Cassidy is a NASA astronaut and a Navy SEAL. He was born Christopher John Cassidy on January 4, 1970 in Salem, Massachusetts. He graduated from York High School, in York, Maine, and then subsequently also graduated from the Naval Academy Prep School in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1989. He received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1993 and a Master’s degree in Ocean engineering from MIT in 2000.
Cassidy graduated from BUD/S Class 192, and for ten years he served as a member of the Navy SEALs, as Executive Officer and Operations Officer of Special Boat Team Twenty in Norfolk, Virginia, as SEAL Platoon Commander at SEAL Team THREE in Coronado, California, and as a SEAL Delivery Vehicle Platoon Commander at SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team TWO in Norfolk, Virginia. His field of interest in military tactics includes long range special reconnaissance, direct action building assaults, non-compliant ship-boarding, desert reconnaissance patrols, combat diving, and underwater explosives. He also specializes in various air operations, including parachuting, fast roping, and rappelling. Shortly after September 11, 2001, Cassidy was deployed to the Afghanistan region, where he served as Ground Assault Force Commander for international and U.S. only combat missions and led two months of non-compliant ship-boardings in the Northern Persian Gulf. He also accrued over 200 hours underwater as Pilot and Mission Commander of a two-man flooded submersible, which is launched and recovered from a host-ship submarine.
In 2004, Cassidy was chosen to be an astronaut candidate by NASA. In February 2006, he completed the Astronaut Candidate Training, which included scientific and technical consultations, intensive instruction in Space Shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training, T-38 flight training, and water and wilderness survival training. From 2006 to 2008 he served as CAPCOM in Mission Control. Cassidy’s first trip to space was aboard Shuttle Endeavour on Mission STS-127. The flight launched on July 15, 2009, and successfully delivered the Japanese-built Exposed Facility and the Experiment Logistics Module Exposed Section to the International Space Station. The crew also completed the KIBO Japanese Experiment Module by installing scientific experiments on its Exposed Facility and delivering critical spare parts and replacement batteries to the orbital complex. While the Shuttle was docked with the ISS, they transferred 24,638 pounds of hardware and 1,225 pounds of water to the station, while working with a record 13 astronauts aboard the Station representing all five ISS partners: NASA, the Russian Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, the European Space Agency and the Japanese Space Agency. While in space, Cassidy performed three spacewalks for a total of 18 hours and 5 minutes of EVA. After 248 orbits of the Earth, the mission ended with a safe landing on July 31, 2009.
Cassidy has been assigned to the Expedition 35 crew as a flight engineer and is currently scheduled to fly to the ISS aboard Soyuz 34 in late March 2013. He resides in York, Maine with his wife Julie Byrd and their three children.