Ann Arbor — Since he was 5 years old, U.S. Navy Capt. Josh Cassada knew where he wanted to be when he grew up: out of this world.
Although initially having an affinity with baseball, gravity would throw a curveball at his future.
“I also just loved math and science,” Cassada told The Detroit News. “That kind of was my upbringing, those three things: math, science, and baseball. … But it became very clear to me that this guy wasn’t going to play beyond college, really.”
Instead, he would go on to become a physicist and test pilot with the U.S. Navy and, ultimately, an astronaut.
Born in San Diego, Calif., Cassada considers White Bear Lake, Minn., to be his hometown, according to a biography on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s website. He earned a degree in physics from Albion College in 1995 and earned a master’s and doctorate from the University of Rochester in 1997 and 2000, respectively. He and his wife, Megan of Charlevoix, Mich., have two children.
In 2013, he was selected to join NASA as an astronaut.
Nine years later on Oct. 5, he piloted a crew of three others, launching to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission. The crew lived and worked aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, which spanned the universe in orbit for 157 days, until returning March 11.
It was the agency’s fifth commercial crew rotation mission to the ISS, according to NASA’s website.
Adorned in a blue NASA flight suit, decorated with several mission patches and the American flag on his left shoulder, Cassada stood Saturday morning before nearly 600 listeners in the University of Michigan’s Central Campus Classroom Building and recalled his experience of conducting three spacewalks, totaling 21 hours and 24 minutes.
The session, hosted by the school’s Saturday Morning Physics class, featured footage from Crew-5’s expedition, live technology demonstrations, and a question-and-answer segment.
Cassada recalled a moment when he and the crew members had…
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