Breaking News
More () »

Mainer astronaut Chris Cassidy announces retirement from NASA, US Navy

Cassidy spent a total of 378 days in space throughout his time at NASA.

HOUSTON, Texas — Astronaut Chris Cassidy announced his retirement from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Navy on Thursday. His last day of work was on Friday.

Cassidy made the announcement in a video tweeted by Jamie Groh, a spaceflight reporter for Teslarati.com.

A veteran of three spaceflights, he spent 17 years with NASA. Of these 28 years in the Navy, he spent 11 as a member of the U.S. Navy SEALs Team. He made four six‐month deployments: two to Afghanistan, and two to the Mediterranean, according to his NASA bio.

"It's been an amazing run. Had so many wonderful opportunities both on the ground, in the air, and in space -- and underwater," Cassidy said in the video tweeted Thursday. "Just so privileged. Feel so lucky that I've gotten to work with the folks that I've had, had the mentors that I've had, the friendships that I've developed all around the world, and I just wanted to say thank you."

Cassidy was born in Salem, MA, but moved to Maine when he was young. He considers York, Maine to be his hometown. He attended York High School before attending the Naval Academy Prep School in Newport, Rhode Island. He graduated in 1989.

Cassidy filmed his retirement announcement at the Johnson Space Center's Neutral Buoyancy Lab, saying he was taking a moment at the top of the stairs to "soak it all in and reflect on the specialness of wrapping up the career that I've had."

RELATED: After 196 days in space, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy returns home

"I want to thank each and every one of you," he said. "If you're listening and our lives intersected at some point in those 28 years, I thank you for being a teammate and thank you for being a friend, and just appreciate you very much."

Cassidy spent a total of 378 days in space throughout his time at NASA, where he was selected as an astronaut in 2004. His most recent mission lasted 196 days, during which he served as commander on the International Space Station for Expedition 63. 

In Cassidy's NASA bio, the following information is provided about his spaceflights:

STS‐127 (July 15 through July 31, 2009). Cassidy served as Mission Specialist aboard the Endeavour for this International Space Station assembly mission 2J/A. Cassidy was the 500th person in history to fly into space. The crew delivered the Japanese Experiment Module ‐ Exposed Facility (JEM‐EF) and the Experiment Logistics Module Exposed Section (ELM‐ES) to the station. They completed the construction of the KIBO JEM, installed scientific experiments on its exposed facility and delivered critical spare parts and replacement batteries.

Expedition 35 (March 28 through September 10, 2013). Cassidy served as a Flight Engineer and flew to the station aboard Soyuz TMA‐08M (U.S. designation: 34S), which launched from the Baikonur Commodore in Kazakhstan. The three crew members were the first to complete an expedited docking to the station – instead of taking the standard two days to rendezvous and dock, they arrived at the orbiting complex in six hours.

Expedition 63 (April 9 through October 21, 2020).  Cassidy served as Commander and flew to the station aboard Soyuz, which launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Cassidy and his fellow Astronaut Robert Behnken completed four spacewalks, totaling 23 hours and 37 minutes, to upgrade station batteries. While on station, he contributed to hundreds of experiments, including a study of the influence of gravity on electrolytic gas evolution, which looks at bubbles created using electrolysis. Cassidy also worked with Astrobee, cube-shaped, free-flying robots that may one day assist astronauts with routine duties, and conducted research for the Onco-Selectors experiment, which leverages microgravity to identify targeted cancer therapies. He spent a total of 196 days in space.

Cassidy has completed a total of ten spacewalks, but two were of particular note. On May 11, 2013, Cassidy and Thomas Marshburn performed an unplanned spacewalk to replace a pump controller box suspected to be the source of an ammonia coolant leak, and on July 16, 2013, he and Luca Parmitano had their spacewalk cut short when Parmitano had cooling water leaking into his helmet covering his face with water. Overall, Cassidy has accumulated 54 hours, 51 minutes of spacewalk time, and 378 days in space.