NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy will return to the International Space Station next April. Cassidy will join his crewmates – Russian space agency Roscosmos cosmonauts Nikolai Tikhonov and Andrei Babkin – to discuss their upcoming mission during a news conference at 2 p.m. EST Thursday, Nov. 7, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The briefing will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. The crew will be available for in person and remote media interviews following the news conference.
To request credentials to participate in person or to reserve an interview opportunity, U.S. reporters must contact Johnson’s newsroom at 281-483-5111 by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6. Media who wish to participate in the news conference by telephone must call Johnson’s newsroom no later than 1:45 p.m. Nov. 6. Those following the briefing on social media may ask questions using #AskNASA.
Cassidy, Babkin and Tikhonov will arrive at the station as NASA flight engineers Jessica Meir and Drew Morgan, along with Expedition 62 commander Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos, wrap up Expedition 62. When Meir, Morgan and Skripochka depart the orbital outpost, Cassidy will become commander of Expedition 63. He and his crewmates are expected to remain aboard the station until October 2020.
This will be the third spaceflight for Cassidy, who considers York, Maine, to be his hometown. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the U.S. Naval Academy and a master’s degree in ocean engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before NASA selected him as an astronaut in 2004, he spent 11 years as a member of the U.S. Navy SEAL Team and deployed to the Afghanistan region two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He achieved the rank of Navy captain in 2014 and remains on active duty.
Cassidy’s first spaceflight was as a mission specialist aboard space shuttle Endeavour for the STS-127 mission in 2009, when he became the 500th person to fly in space. During the 16-day mission, Cassidy participated in three spacewalks to help install the Japanese Kibo laboratory’s exposed facility and replace solar array batteries on the Port 6 truss of the space station.
His first long-duration mission was in 2013 as part of Expeditions 35 and 36. He took part in three more spacewalks during his six-month stay. He has spent 182 days in space, and 31 hours and 14 minutes spacewalking.
This is the first flight for both Tikhonov and Babkin.