After watching his friend almost drown in his space helmet, a NASA astronaut has since spoken out about the ordeal.
Chris Cassidy was selected to train to become a NASA astronaut after previously being a US Navy Seals captain.
In 2009, the 51-year-old from Massachusetts, set off on his first of three space trips, on the Space Shuttle to the International Space Station. He was part of a team of seven. In 2013 and 2020 he also took trips on Russian Soyuz rockets to the station.
Details of his experiences have since been revealed through new Disney+ series Among The Stars. However, one of the trips took a nasty turn when his friend almost drowned in his space helmet.
On his first trip, Cassidy was the 500th human to ever enter space. Across his 378 days in space, he took part in 54 hours and 521 minutes of spacewalks across 10 different escapades, Mirror reports.
It can be a little frightening the first hour or so you’re out there. But every now and then, you stop and take a look. It’s a beautiful sight, when you see the Earth out on a spacewalk.
It’s usually between your toes, going by at five miles a second. You know how far it is between cities and coasts and you see it from a distance in minutes! It really blows your mind. I enjoy everything about a spacewalk.
However, despite the beauty of his experiences in space, Cassidy was also met with one horrifying ordeal.
In 2013, a malfunction occurred in one of his colleagues’ helmet; Luca Parmitano’s helmet suddenly started releasing water, which meant he was close to drowning.
Footage of the incident is included in the new series, and Cassidy detailed how despite it being ‘pitch dark’ he had gotten a ‘really cr**py feeling’ at the time, when Luca’s silhouette disappeared from sight.
He recalled how ‘the momentum of his motion start[ed] making the water move around. It then sloshed over his eyes and nose’.
According to Cassidy, the incident ‘was almost fatal’. ‘Any given mission can end in a catastrophic way. But pushing the boundaries of exploring is what humans do and we get to do that. We get to do that in space!’ he commented.
The new Disney+ series shows Cassidy using his experiences to teach children about what life in space is like. From how ‘pee is collected in a machine which is turned into drinking water’, to what a privilege the job is.
Cassidy has worked at NASA for 16 years and noted how ‘special’ a job it is. ‘At the beginning you’re in awe that you’re now inside the club. It gave me chills thinking about it,’ he said.
He noted how NASA does a ‘great job of supporting [them] psychologically’ too.
Founded by Musk, SpaceX’s Inspiration4 space mission launched just after 8:00am (EDT) on Wednesday, September 15. It was the first flight into space without any professional astronauts on board.
Cassidy noted how ‘excited’ he is to see such work, noting that such instances bring ‘enthusiasm to the industry’ and bring ‘cost down to a point where many people can enjoy a space flight’.
All six episodes of Among The Stars will be available from October 6 on Disney+.
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