The Next 10 Americans in Space

The shuttle has retired, but the astronauts have not.

(NASA/Carla Cioffi)

Chris Cassidy


During his only space mission to date, STS-127 in 2009, flight controllers on the ground jokingly named Chris Cassidy “Most Awesome Astronaut,” and wrote up new spacewalking “rules” for the former Navy SEAL. In a spacesuit, Cassidy could remain outside the shuttle indefinitely, no helmet required. But he was limited to five orbits in a t-shirt and jeans, or two orbits in swim trunks and sandals. “On orbit, Chris Cassidy is basically Chuck Norris minus the restrictions of gravity,” the controllers concluded. It’s true, not many astronauts have both a Master’s degree from MIT and a Bronze Star for leading an operation in the caves of Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks. Cassidy (pictured at left during a 2004 wilderness survival exercise while still an astronaut candidate) will be a flight engineer on Expeditions 35/36, starting with a launch to the station March 2013.

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