History-making astronaut has Rochester Roots

January 29, 2019 04:15 PM

News10NBC is learning more about a NASA astronaut with local connections who is helping to advance space exploration.

Josh Cassada is one of the newly announced astronauts who will launch into space, testing out new spaceships.

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NASA will be testing out new spaceships from Boeing and SpaceX that could potentially be game-changing for space exploration.

Cassada is one of nine astronauts who will be headed to space. Before he had plans to enter space, he was earning his Ph.D. at The University of Rochester.

"The first thing he (Cassada) said was I want to be an astronaut," Kevin McFarland, a University of Rochester Physics professor told News10NBC. "He wanted to get his Ph.D. in physics, but he saw this all as a way to become an astronaut."

That dream became reality in 2013 when Cassada was chosen as a NASA recruit.

Now five years later, Cassada will become a part of history as he travels to space for the first time in commercial spacecraft by Boeing and SpaceX.

The new ships will carry four astronauts per trip, current Russian flights have three-person crews.

Cassada spoke about his journey, "for me this is what brings us all together. When Americans are working together and respecting and cherishing are individual differences. That's when Americans do the impossible."

Before joining NASA, Cassada studied physics, math and later became a pilot for the Navy, a journey McFarland says shows the value of education.

This mission is expected to launch as early as next spring.


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