NASA Astronaut Chris Cassidy Will ‘Never Forget’ the Thrill of His First Spacewalk

In October 2020, Captain Chris Cassidy accomplished a rare profession as an astronaut when he returned to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS). A yr on, Cassidy’s ultimate house mission is documented in a brand new Disney + sequence.

The six-part sequence referred to as Among the Stars follows Cassidy—who was the five hundredth individual to enterprise into house—and a crew of engineers, flight controllers, and specialists as they put together for the astronaut’s third and ultimate journey into house.

Cassidy, who was born in Massachusetts in 1970, joined NASA in 2004 after a profession in the Navy that noticed him awarded the Bronze Star Medal with fight ‘V’ and Presidential Unit Citation for main a 9‐day operation at the Zharwar Kili cave complicated on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border.

“I’ve been an astronaut for about 18 years. In fact, I just retired from NASA this month,” Cassidy advised Newsweek. “The first mission was a space shuttle mission STS 127 [the aim of which was to deliver a module that allowed experiments to be conducted outside the station in the near-vacuum of space] in 2009, which was aboard the space shuttle Endeavour.”

The retired astronaut explains that on this primary mission he and his teammates visited the ISS however stayed there for under two weeks whereas they delivered cargo and elements to construct the house station. The common keep aboard the ISS for astronauts in the present day is round six months.

“The highlight of my first mission was experiencing the thrill of launch for the first time and my very first spacewalk. Those are things that I will never forget,” he stated.

Capt Chris Cassidy outside the ISS
Chris Cassidy on a spacewalk in 2009. The astronaut’s ultimate mission is documented in a brand new Disney + sequence.

His subsequent two missions would contain longer stays aboard the ISS, with Cassidy staying on the station— which orbits at round 230 to 270 miles above Earth’s floor—for six months at a time. It was throughout these stays that Cassidy launched into the quite a few spacewalks that took him outdoors the relative security of the ISS and into the huge vacancy of house.

“There’s a lot of emotions that go along with that. They’re most heightened on your first spacewalk. It’s just magnified, and multiplied many times over,” Cassidy stated. “When you’re orbiting the world at three or 450 kilometers [217 or 279 miles] above the surface of the Earth traveling at five miles a second, can you open that hatch and you look down to the clouds moving at a rapid rate through between your toes?

“We inform first-time spacewalkers, ‘simply maintain on to the handrail for about a couple of minutes, and simply relax let your self breathe, and notice it may be okay. And then get on get on along with your work’.”

Cassidy added that the trepidation round spacewalks quickly vanishes when astronauts notice they’ve a job to do they usually may very well be putting in a bit of gear that prices hundreds of {dollars} and took years to develop.

“You don’t want to screw that up,” he stated.

For instance, throughout the 2020 mission European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano carried out repairs on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a particle detector that price $2 billion to construct.

Yet whilst a seasoned hand with quite a few spacewalks beneath his belt, this newest mission nonetheless threw up some heart-stopping moments. “My friend Luca Parmitano had a spacewalk, where water was leaking into his helmet and that was very, very scary.

“That was one thing that I’ll always remember.”

Space Walk
Luca Parmitano takes a visit outdoors the ISS in January 2020. Cassidy stated water leaked by way of his crew mate’s helmet throughout a spacewalk.
Disney+/Luca Parmitano/NASA

Cassidy hopes the present will give the common public an thought of how intense the months and even years main as much as an area mission might be, and simply how many individuals it takes to get such an endeavor to the launchpad.

“It’s not a simple thing that we just embark on, it’s years of preparation by teams of people at Mission Control Center, the staff, the management team at the Johnson Space Center and around the country, the astronauts training and traveling to and from all of our international partner locations.”

Then there may be taking particular person astronauts, bringing them collectively and forming the bond that creates a crew, he stated. “All of that takes… years or months and months and months to develop. And that’s what I’m excited about showing the viewership this level of effort.”

“I think the viewers will be really curious to see all those behind-the-scenes things that we as astronauts live all the time. But other folks don’t get the chance to see,” Cassidy stated. “So I’m really excited for folks to see that that aspect of spaceflight preparation.”

Chris Cassidy Among the Stars
Cassidy prepares for his ultimate mission in 2020. A yr on, the mission is documented in a six half Disney + sequence.
Disney +/NASA

Going into this mission, did Cassidy know it will be the final time he ventured into house?

“As an astronaut, you never know when your last spaceflight will be, just like a football player doesn’t know when the last time he or she will step foot on a football pitch,” he defined. “I’ve been an astronaut for 17 years or so. I’ve flown in space three times, had leadership positions in the office. And with all that experience, I knew well enough that it’s probably the tail end of my space flying career.

“I needed to only recognize each single minute of it as finest I may.”

One of the main occasions that may happen throughout Cassidy’s retirement is the return of humanity to the surface of the moon, and the risk of human crewed missions to other solar system planets.

Cassidy reflects on the enormity of the adventure that lies ahead for a few select individuals who have not yet been chosen to embark on their missions beyond Earth’s atmosphere: “I’m actually excited to consider the incontrovertible fact that whoever goes to be the subsequent moonwalker, that individual would not comprehend it but. I’ll be watching so with a lot pleasure when that occurs.”

Cassidy had some sage advice for the next generation of astronauts: “It’s fairly easy. Be an excellent teammate. Do your job, know when to step up as a pacesetter, know when to step again as a follower and contribute to no matter the targets of the crew are. That’s, I believe, 80 p.c of the job in in all probability any profession subject, whether or not it is an astronaut, or in an workplace place or on a sports activities subject.

“It’s really the essence of teamwork that will make or break the future space exploration missions.”

The six-part sequence Among the Stars streams on Disney + on October 6.

Chris Cassidy
NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy works aboard the ISS on June 24, 2020. The astronaut’s ultimate mission is documented in the Disney + sequence Among the Stars.

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