Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

VIDEO: Q-and-A with Navy SEAL - from space

Aug. 27, 2013 - 07:15PM   |  
SEAL in Space
SEAL in Space: A long-distance interview with Cmdr. Chris Cassidy
  • Filed Under
SEAL Cmdr. Chris Cassidy, a NASA astronaut, enjoys the view Aug. 7 from the International Space Station. (NASA)

More on Cassidy

Scoop Deck:
Cassidy set to launch from Kazakhstan (With pre-launch video)
Navy Times:
SEAL takes express ride to space station
Scoop Deck:
Close shave for SEAL in space (With video Cassidy giving himself a floating haircut. Key quote: “I don’t think I’ve looked like this since Plebe Summer.”)

Recruiters say if you join the military, you can see the world. For Cmdr. Chris Cassidy, that is literally the case.

The Navy SEAL-turned-astronaut has a nice view from the International Space Station, where he has been serving since March.

It’s the 43-year-old’s second time in space — his first was in 2009 aboard the space shuttle Endeavour. His typical day aboard the station includes science experiments, the occasional spacewalk and, yes, a fair amount of stargazing.

Before being selected for NASA in 2004, the Naval Academy grad spent 10 years serving on SEAL teams. Two weeks after 9/11, he put boots on the ground in Afghanistan, the first of two deployments there. His decorations include a Bronze Star with “V” device for heroism while operating in the caves of Zharwar Kili in Khost province.

Cassidy, who calls York, Maine, his hometown, is married with three children. He’s due back on Earth on Sept. 10.

The astronaut connected with Military Times (with a little help from mission control) on Aug. 20. Watch the video above.

Q. You’re up there representing the Defense Department. How would you say what you’re doing is advancing the U.S. military mission?

A. If you look at the astronaut office, we’re about half military, half civilian. So any given time you’ll have a military uniform-wearing astronaut up here. Not only from the United States, but my crewmate Luca Parmitano is an Italian air force officer and pilot. What the military brings is pretty substantial to being a good crewmate, an effective astronaut and understanding how to work in an operational environment because that’s what we have here is an operational environment.

Q. You mentioned your Italian crewmate. What other foreign countries are represented, and what specifically are you learning from them?

A. Myself and Karen Nyberg are NASA U.S. astronauts. Luca Parmitano is an Italian astronaut from the European Space Agency, and we have three Russian cosmonauts, Pavel, Fyodor and Sasha. What we learn together is just good interaction, much like if you do a joint training exercise. What I’ve learned is that, internationally, we’re all training for the same mission, and we’re basically the same guys wearing slightly different uniforms and with different accents.

Q. What career advice would you offer to a service member looking to get into the space program?

A. Just keep on doing jobs and taking sets of orders that you’re satisfied with. Because when you do that you’ll tend to do them well, and you will enjoy your military career. During my interview process, I realized just how many really, really good people there are out there, and I just was really lucky to get picked. If I had continued on in my SEAL team career that would have been fine, too, because I thoroughly enjoyed what I was doing there.

Q. Most of us here on Earth will never get a chance to do a spacewalk. Can you describe what that experience is like?

A. If you went to the top of a skyscraper and put your toes over the edge and leaned over, your brain would tell you ‘What are you doing? You’re crazy.’ That’s kind of the sensation that you have on your first spacewalk when you open the hatch. It only takes a couple minutes to realize you’re not going to fall. And then you start going to work. Every now and then I take in where I am, out with one hand on the port side of the space station, looking all the way down to the Earth and trying to capture that in my mind’s eye forever.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Navy Times

This Week's Navy Times

Boosted bonuses
New rules raise payout ceiling to $100K

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
   Last Post: garhkal
        Apr 19, 2014 3:13 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        Apr 15, 2014 4:55 PM
   Last Post: Shaken1976
        Apr 15, 2014 5:13 PM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook