The new Disney + show Among The Stars will accompany Chris Cassidy as he prepares for last year’s ISS mission as part of a $ 2 billion experiment to determine the origins of the universe
Chris Cassidy fought in the Afghan desert and literally seemed a world away from realizing his true dream.
The captain of the US Navy Seals, who led a crack unit in a nine-day mission to eliminate terrorists in 2004, had the ambition to fly into space one day. But belief was the key.
The first step would only be months away – when he was selected to train as a NASA astronaut.
The dream finally came true in 2009 when he boarded the space shuttle as part of a crew of seven to reach the International Space Station.
It was the first of three space trips for this real Rocket Man.
During NASA training he liked to belt out Journey’s classic rock anthem Don’t Stop Believin ‘. Appropriate as Chris never did.
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And the leadership and heroism he displayed as the Navy Seal would serve him well when traveling to the ISS aboard Russian Soyuz missiles in 2013 and 2020.
His adventures – and those of his fellow spacemen 250 miles above the earth – are captured in the breathtaking new series Among The Stars on Disney +.
In 2009, 51-year-old Chris became the 500th person in space. On the show, he tells of the incredible heights when he performed 10 space walks totaling 54 hours and 521 minutes.
He spent an incredible 378 days in space. Commenting on the spacewalks, Chris from Massachusetts says, “The first hour or so it can be a little scary being out there. But every now and then you stop and look. It is a beautiful sight to see Earth on a space walk.
“Usually it’s between your toes, at a speed of five miles per second. You know how far it is between cities and coastlines, and you can see it from a distance in minutes! “It really blows you away.
There were scary times too. In 2013, Chris experienced the terrible moment when Italian space friend Luca Parmitano almost drowned in his own helmet due to a malfunction that released water.
Nail-biting footage of the incident is featured in Among The Stars.
Chris recalls: “It was pitch black and I remember seeing Luca and his silhouette disappear and thinking that this was a really shitty feeling.
“The momentum of its movement makes the water move. It then sloshed over his eyes and nose. It was almost fatal. Every mission can end catastrophically. We can do it in space! “
Most days are far less dramatic and are spent doing experiments that keep astronauts on the ISS for months.
On the TV show, Chris brings the world of space to life while attending school. It also fends off practical questions that only children may dare to ask.
When a giggling boy asks how astronauts go to the bathroom, Chris replies, “Our piss is collected in a machine that is made into drinking water.”
When the students say a collective “Yeeeukk!” Chris jokes that they have just installed the same system in their school. Keyword laughter. Chris worked at NASA for 16 years.
Referring to his early days, he says: “This is a real privilege. I am no one special. I just do a special job. At first you are amazed that you are in the club now. It gave me goosebumps when I thought about it. “
How was his first space trip? “It’s very bumpy and violent,” he says.
“I didn’t know what to expect. When I realized everything was fine, I remember taking a mirror and looking outside at the flames and smoke below and thinking, ‘Wow’! “
In an exclusive chat with the Sunday People, Chris also reveals that life on the ISS can be a little, well, cheesy.
He says, “What I miss most are the smells of cut grass, the smells of the ocean, the smells of the kitchen with a delicious dinner.
“Space has smells … smelly people, smelly feet, experiments that have smells but none of the ones you associate with the earth.
“We try to do things that are impossible on earth, like doing fun things with swimming, experimenting with water, taking thousands of pictures. It’s funny, I mentally supported this special mission for everyone on site because of Covid. NASA is doing a great job of providing psychological support to us by providing films, books and allowing you to communicate with friends. “
Chris is also a space enthusiast defending the billions spent on Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
He says, “I’m excited, all of these things are inspiring our industry, the space community, and ultimately costs will come down enough for a lot of people to enjoy space travel. I think the world is better off for people like these guys. “
The TV series shows Chris preparing for last year’s ISS mission as part of a $ 2 billion experiment to determine the origins of the universe.
A clip shows how he attaches a transmitter to the outside of the space station.
Another shows his buddy Drew Morgan waving a “wish you were here” angle to the camera. All of this offers a rare glimpse into the life of NASA.
Before his final start, Chris says, “This time, I’m looking forward to sharing my return to space with my friends and family.”
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At home, Ms. Peggy – they have five children together – says about his months in space: “I wake up thinking, where is the guy who makes coffee every morning?”
Chris has officially retired from NASA but admits he’d love to go to the moon.
He says, “I don’t think the timing will work out for me, but some of my colleagues will be returning to the moon.”
Not so fast, Chris. Do not stop believing.
■ Disney + Among The Stars will be available for streaming on October 6th