An astronaut has not taken off for the ISS from U.S. soil in nearly a decade, and the mission on Wednesday marks the first time Elon Musk's SpaceX company will launch a manned mission into space. NASA prefers to have a full space station complement of six when spacewalks are conducted, with four crew on the inside to support the two spacewalkers on the outside. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)? 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'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); © 2017 Space and Technology Policy Group, LLC, All Rights Reserved, Your first stop for news, information and analysis about civil, military and commercial space programs, Chris Cassidy On Track for 6-Month ISS Visit Despite Coronavirus. Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the our 24/7 digital news network. Cassidy arrived in Star City, Russia, outside Moscow, on March 1 for a final few weeks of training. In the past few weeks they have been in simulators together and are “ready to go.”. Copyright © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc.All rights reserved. Chris Cassidy achieved the rank of captain in the U.S. Navy. "And that was impactful to me, particularly as I was looking out the window thinking about it.". Cassidy now has spent a total of 378 days in space, the fifth highest among U.S. astronauts. Rounding out the Soyuz MS-16 crew, in the right-side Flight Engineer-2 couch, is 50-year-old Chris Cassidy, a veteran of one shuttle mission, one extended ISS increment and six sessions of Extravehicular Activity (EVA). …  My heart hurt for my two friends who thought they were so close to a rocket launch.”, But he has known Ivanishin and Vagner for several years and they have been training together as the backup crew. We’ll just sort of walk out.”. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone. "I think it's been healthy for the growth of both organizations," he said. It's a life," he said. Cassidy and Behnken completed four spacewalks, totaling 23 hours and 37 minutes, to upgrade station batteries. "That decision was made with aims to move towards the future. During his STS 127 mission, he was the 500th person in history to fly into space. Cassidy has been assigned to the Expedition 35 crew as a flight engineer and flew to the ISS aboard Soyuz TMA-08M (US designation: 34S), which launched on March 28, 2013. Cassidy said the partnership was "healthy" — combining the "faster" and "cheaper" efforts of a private company with the "decades based of safety culture" at NASA. 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Behnken and Hurley will be aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule for Demo-2, and Hurley expressed no doubt that the dual effort between a government agency and commercial company will work for the best. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin on Thursday returned to Earth after living in the space for 196 days. Cassidy confirmed that it was an eye injury that sidelined Tikhonov, but said he is recovering well and  could get back into the crew rotation later this year. Two weeks before the April 9 launch, he and his crewmates, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, will fly to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the launch site for missions to the ISS. They're smart engineers at SpaceX, all with motivation to do the same thing, and that's fly missions effectively and safely," he said. Get the latest news in Space Policy Online delivered right to your inbox! At the moment, however, there are only three because the SpaceX and Boeing U.S. commercial crew systems are not ready. NASA and SpaceX announced yesterday that they are planning for SpaceX’s crewed flight test, Demo-2, to take place in mid-late May. Expedition 63 was the 63rd long duration mission to the International Space Station, which began on 17 April 2020 with the undocking of the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft and continued until the undocking of the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft on 21 October 2020, an unusual double-length expedition increment. They were supposed to be flying by now, so Russia cut back the number of Soyuz launches from four to two per year. Crews routinely are quarantined during these final weeks, with the two weeks at Baikonur more rigorous than while at Star City. This is Cassidy’s third spaceflight. In the past few weeks they have been in simulators together and are “ready to go.” NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy answering media questions from Star City, Russia, March 19, 2020. He was in training with Nikolai Tikhonov and Andrei Babkin, but Tikhonov suffered an injury and, since they train together as crews, both were replaced by their backups in February. Though he remains hundreds of miles above Earth, Cassidy said the coronavirus crisis was close to his heart. “Social distancing applies to everybody” there and the streets of Moscow, about 30 miles away, are “quiet and empty like you see in the rest of the world.”, The major impact for him is that family and friends will not be allowed at Baikonur for the launch. Chris Cassidy (Commander) 53 days in space; Christopher Cassidy was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2004 and is a veteran of two space flights, namely STS 127 and Expedition 35. The trio departed the station at 7:32 p.m. EDT Wednesday and landed just south of the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, at 10:54 p.m. (8:54 a.m. Kazakhstan time). has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate. We’ve been sort of isolated to our cottages and to essential places to go to get food.”, Another change is that everyone else also is under some sort of quarantine. Bill Harwood has been covering the U.S. space program full-time since 1984, first as Cape Canaveral bureau chief for United Press International and now as a consultant for CBS News. “I was crushed, actually, that we were swapping [crews] because they were my really dear friends and I was looking forward to spending 6 months on board the ISS with them. The final spacewalk was the 10th for both astronauts, making them two of only four only U.S. astronauts to complete 10 spacewalks. How long the ISS crew will be limited to three is on everyone’s mind. It's just a matter of what the timescale is," he said. Tweets by @SpcPlcyOnline During a series of media interviews this morning, Cassidy was repeatedly asked if the quarantine procedures are any different now because of the coronavirus. "You see those numbers that I think everybody's watching, and it's dawned on me a week ago that every single one of those numbers is a story. And now the future is here.". How long has Chris Cassidy been in space? Republic World highlights that he has been on the International Space Station since the launch of Expedition 63. The ISS has been permanently occupied by international crews rotating on roughly 4-6 month schedules since November 2000. There is only a one-week handover period when the current crew and his crew will all be on ISS at the same time. He was the Chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA from July 2015 until June 2017. Cassidy sounded upbeat during interviews this morning, though disappointed that family and friends will not be on hand for the launch. This is Cassidy’s third spaceflight. All told, the U.S. Navy captain and former SEAL has logged almost 182 days in space and over 31 hours of spacewalking time. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies. Soyuz MS-16 will deliver two Russian cosmonauts and NASA’s Chris Cassidy for a 6-month mission aboard the orbiting facility. The global coronavirus pandemic is changing a few pre-launch plans, but will not prevent a new crew from launching to the International Space Station next month. Cassidy revealed that mission planners are considering whether he should conduct a spacewalk in the first few days he is aboard ISS. "Maybe it's in 100 years… but it's just been a little over 100 years since the Wright Brothers flew, and think of where we are now, me talking to you from the space station. "Maybe it's in 100 years… but it's just been a little over 100 years since the Wright Brothers flew, and think of where we are now, me talking to you from the space station." Unrelated to the coronavirus, another big change for Cassidy is his crewmates. This website uses cookies to help us give you the best experience when you visit our website. ", Cassidy recounted the words of John Young, the ninth person to walk on the moon, when both of their careers at NASA overlapped in 2004: "Single planet species don't survive.". Chris Cassidy has been aboard the ISS since April 9th 2020. Christopher John "Chris" Cassidy (born January 4, 1970, in Salem, Massachusetts) is a NASA astronaut and United States Navy SEAL.Chris Cassidy achieved the rank of captain in the U.S. Navy.His first spaceflight was on a Space Shuttle mission in 2009. We retired the shuttle for very sound reasons," Cassidy said, referring to the Space Shuttle Program NASA retired in 2011. We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links. Each Soyuz can accommodate three people and the three there now — NASA’s Drew Morgan and Jessica Meir and Russia’s Oleg Skripochka — are headed home eight days after Cassidy arrives. “This past week, had it been a normal quarantine, I probably could have gone out to some restaurants and left the immediate parameters of the Star City area, … but not this time.