Who is the third NASA astronaut currently on board the space station?

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have been in the spotlight following their trip to the International Space Station (ISS) earlier this month in what was the first use of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, but did you know there’s another American currently residing on the orbiting outpost?

His name is Chris Cassidy (below), and he arrived at the space station on a Soyuz spacecraft flight in April 2020 with two Russian cosmonauts, Ivan Vagner and Anatoli Ivanishin.

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy
NASA

Who is Chris Cassidy?

In NASA’s video below, Cassidy, 50, says he first got the idea of becoming an astronaut after meeting Bill Shepherd, a NASA astronaut who served as Commander of Expedition 1, the first crewed ISS mission, in 2000-01. Cassidy said he realized he had a similar background to Shepherd and set about working toward his goal.

The former U.S. Navy SEAL was selected by the space agency in 2004 and completed his Astronaut Candidate training in 2006.

From 2006 through 2008, Cassidy, who grew up in Maine, served as capsule communicator at NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas.

After that, between 2009 and 2011, he was given the role of support astronaut on the space shuttle closeout crew, with tasks including strapping in the crew and closing and sealing the access hatch for flight.

Cassidy later served as the extravehicular activity branch chief before being assigned as the deputy chief at the astronaut office in 2015. After four months as deputy, he became NASA’s 14th chief astronaut in July 2015 where he was responsible for flight assignments, mission preparation, and on‐orbit support of U.S. crews, as well as organizing astronaut office support for future launch vehicles.

Today, Cassidy is serving as Commander aboard the ISS as part of the Expedition 63 mission with Hurley, Behnken, and the two Russians. You’ll be hearing more about him later this week when he embarks on a spacewalk with Behnken.

He’s already been on two other space missions — the 2009 STS-127 space shuttle mission to the ISS, and Expedition 35 to the ISS in 2013.

You can follow Cassidy on Twitter to find out more about his life on the space station. The astronaut is expecting to return to Earth in October 2020 after a six-month stay on the orbiting outpost.

In 2013, he gave a short tour of the ISS. You can watch it below.

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