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Astronaut Candidates 2004: | Home
Chris Cassidy
IMAGE: Astronaut Candidate Chris Cassidy
2004 Astronaut Candidate Chris Cassidy is a Navy lieutenant commander.
Astronaut Candidate Interview:
Christopher Cassidy

Q: Christopher J. Cassidy, mission specialist candidate. Congratulations.

A: Thank you very much.

Tell me what was it like to get the news that you had been picked to be an astronaut.

Oh, it was unbelievable. A few days before I had received an e-mail to contact the selection office on a particular day and time. And about 10 minutes before the time for the phone call, the phone rang in our house, and my wife and I kind of looked at each other with nervous apprehension. She answered and handed the phone to me with big eyes. And sure enough, it was Kent Rominger, and he gave me the good news. I was just ecstatic.

Since you're a Naval Academy man, I'm going to assume that your desire to be in the Navy goes back at least to high school. Tell me where and when you got the desire to be an astronaut. And about how you contacted a fellow Navy SEAL who offered you some guidance.

Well, I'd always been interested in the space program. But it wasn't until I became a SEAL and in the SEAL team and sort of learned about Bill Shepherd's involvement in the space program that I actually became aggressively interested in pursuing the goal. I contacted him, and he provided some guidance and some mentorship, and now here I am.

You and your astronaut classmates should be the ones who are on the missions that are going to bring the vision for space exploration to life. You folks are going to be the ones who are going to go to the moon and figure out how we move on from there. Tell me about your philosophy about humankind moving out into the cosmos, and being one of the people who's going to get to do that.

Well, I'm truly excited about all the possibilities and opportunities. During my initial time in NASA, I'm just motivated to be part of the supporting effort to get the initial folks to that level. And then when my time comes, I'll be motivated to jump in and do the same thing.

NASA has an important role to play in supporting and promoting education. What do you want to tell young people about the role of education and science and math in the challenging work of space flight and the challenging life of an astronaut?

Well, first and foremost, I just want to tell them to believe in themselves and never quit, with education and any other thing they do. And that certainly applies to their academics as they pursue their goals and graduate through the various levels of education. It will always serve them well no matter what field they serve in.

Behind the ScenesAstronaut Candidate Class of 2004

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 07/15/2005
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