US Navy SEAL Completes First Space Walk
News in Balance:
SAN DIEGO, July 23, 2009 -- A U.S. Navy SEAL performed his first walk in space during a maintenance mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) July 22.
Cmdr. Chris Cassidy and astronaut David Wolf replaced two of the six original batteries on the ISS and removed multilayer insulation from the Japanese "Kibo" laboratory module to prepare payloads for transfer to an exposed outside section. This walk was the first of three scheduled for Cassidy during this mission. Cassidy and other astronauts with Space Transport System (STS) 127 aboard the shuttle Endeavor blasted off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Endeavor crew's tasks include swapping crew members for the ISS, replacing the cache of batteries which stores energy from the space station's solar arrays and installing an outside platform to one end of the laboratory. The platform will serve as a sort of porch for astronauts to conduct experiments outside the protective confines of the space station. The mission is currently scheduled to return to Earth July 31.
Cassidy follows former SEAL and now Astronaut Hall of Famer Capt. William Shepard's footsteps as the second Navy SEAL to launch into space. Shepard is a veteran of four space flights, including command of the Expedition 1 mission in 2000 aboard the ISS. As a SEAL, Shepard served with Underwater Demolition Team 11, Special Boat Team 20 and SEAL Teams 1 and 2.
A York, Maine, native, Cassidy graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. Cassidy completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUDS) training in Coronado, Calif., and was the honor graduate for BUDS Class 192. Cassidy served as executive officer and operations officer of Special Boat Team 20 in Norfolk, Va., and platoon commander at SEAL Team 3 in Coronado. His awards include 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 Institute of Technology in 2000 and was accepted into the space program in 2004.
(Report by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dominique Lasco, Naval Special Warfare Public Affairs.)
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