National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058
Josh A. Cassada (Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy, PH.D.)
NASA Astronaut Candidate
PERSONAL DATA: Born in San Diego, California, but considers his hometown to be White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Married to the former Megan Friedly of Charlevoix, Michigan. They have two children. Cassada's parents, Jack and Darlene Cassada, live in Punta Gorda, Florida.
EDUCATION: Graduated from White Bear Lake Area High School, White Bear Lake, Minnesota in 1991. Earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Physics from Albion College, Albion, Michigan in 1995. He earned a Master of Arts Degree (1997) and a Doctorate (2000) in Physics with a specialty in high energy particle physics from the University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.
ORGANIZATIONS: Society of Experimental Test Pilots, U.S. Navy Test Pilot School Alumni Association, Phi Beta Kappa.
SPECIAL HONORS: Awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, including a Combat V, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various unit commendations. Graduated summa cum laude from Albion College. Albion College Distinguished Alumnus. Recipient of U.S. Department of Education Teaching Fellowship and the University of Rochester Department of Physics and Astronomy Graduate Teaching Award.
EXPERIENCE: Following completion of his Ph.D. thesis at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Dr. Cassada was commissioned as a naval officer in June 2000 and earned his wings of gold as a naval aviator in 2001. He began his operational flying career in 2002 with the Fighting Tigers of VP-8, stationed in Brunswick, Maine. As P-3C patrol plane commander, mission commander and instructor pilot, he was deployed to the Western Pacific, Mediterranean Sea and Central America, serving in various operations including Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and multiservice tsunami relief during Operation Unified Assistance. Following graduation from the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School in 2006, Dr. Cassada served as a developmental test pilot for the P-8A and P-3C in Patuxent River, Maryland. He was the P-8A Airworthiness Project Officer and lead test pilot for various Maritime Patrol & Reconnaissance Aircraft programs. Cassada then completed a tour as a T-38C and T-6A instructor pilot at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, providing instruction in every phase of the fixed-wing curriculum. In 2011, he was assigned to DCMA Boeing Seattle as the Chief of Flight Operations, leading all aircraft operations and contract oversight for P-8A, KC-46, AWACS and USMC UAV while also executing the Navy's flight test acceptance of P-8A aircraft. He later co-founded Quantum Opus, LLC, providing high-speed, low-loss photon detectors to enable next-generation experiments in quantum optics, optical quantum computation, single-photon communication, low-flux biophotonics, and remote sensing. He has accumulated more than 2,500 flight hours in over 40 different aircraft and 23 combat missions.
NASA EXPERIENCE: Dr. Cassada was selected in June 2013 as one of eight members of the 21st NASA astronaut class. He is currently in Astronaut Candidate Training that includes scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in International Space Station systems, Extravehicular Activity (EVA), robotics, physiological training, T-38 flight training, and water and wilderness survival training.