NASA Names New Chief Astronaut

Chris Cassidy
Chris Cassidy

HOUSTON, July 9, 2015 (NASA PR) — NASA’s Director of Flight Operations Brian Kelly has appointed U.S. Navy Capt. Christopher Cassidy as the chief of the Astronaut Office. Cassidy replaces Air Force Col. Robert Behnken, who has held the position since August 2012.

“Bob has provided outstanding leadership of our astronaut corps during the last three years,” Kelly said. “His selfless dedication and sound guidance has been top-notch as NASA ramped up research aboard the International Space Station and began laying the groundwork for human exploration missions beyond Earth orbit.”

In his new role, Cassidy will be responsible for managing Astronaut Office resources, operations and safety programs. He also will help develop astronaut flight crew operation concepts and crew assignments for future spaceflight missions.

“The Navy has a long history working with NASA and supporting astronauts – during the earliest U.S. space flights, Frogmen helped return astronauts from a splashdown at sea,” Kelly said. “Now, we are proud to have a Frogman leading the Astronaut Office. Chris has served this nation admirably in the most challenging of circumstances and he will be a great leader for the astronaut corps.”

Cassidy was born in Salem, Massachusetts, and considers York, Maine, his hometown. He earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1993, and a Master of Science in ocean engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000. Cassidy was a member of the U.S. Navy SEAL team for 10 years before he was selected as an astronaut in 2004.

Cassidy flew on board Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-127 in July 2009 and as a long-duration Expedition 35/36 crew member from March 28, 2013, through Sept. 11, 2013. For the space station mission, he launched and returned aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. During his NASA career, Cassidy has spent 182 days in space and conducted six spacewalks.

For Cassidy’s complete biography, visit: