US Navy SEAL to Launch Into Space
News in Balance:
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., June 12, 2009 -- A Navy SEAL in NASA's astronaut program will launch into space June 13.
Cmdr. Chris Cassidy of York, Maine, will be the second SEAL to launch into space since Capt. William Shepherd in 1992. Cassidy is a mission specialist and a part of the STS-127 crew that will work on upgrading the International Space Station (ISS).
STS-127's mission is to complete an ISS crew member swap, change out the cache of batteries which stores energy from ISS's solar arrays and install a platform to one end of the Japanese Kibo laboratory on the station. The platform will conduct experiments designed to work outside the protective confines of the space station.
After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics in 1993, Cassidy continued on to Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training in Coronado, Calif., and was the honor graduate for BUD/S Class 192. Cassidy has spent more than 10 years with SEAL teams, holding such positions as executive officer and operations officer of Special Boat Team 20 in Norfolk, Va., and platoon commander at SEAL Team 3 in Coronado. Along with serving in the Mediterranean, Cassidy deployed several times to Afghanistan where he was awarded two Bronze Stars with Combat 'V' and a Presidential Unit Citation for missions with the Army's 10th Mountain Division on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
He applied for the astronaut program after receiving his master's degree from the Massachusetts's Institute of Technology in 2000 and was accepted into the space program in 2004.
(Report by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dominique M. Lasco.)
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