An Albion College graduate is taking a trip that is out of this world...literally. NASA says that Josh Cassada is expected to travel to the International Space Station this coming Tuesday if weather conditions cooperate. According to Space.Com the launch was originally scheduled for Monday, October 3rd, but hurricane Ian dashed those hopes. When NASA saw the approach of hurricane Ian, the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule were rolled into SpaceX’s hangar at Pad 39A. NASA says the Tuesday SpaceX launch is targeted no earlier than 12:23 p.m. EDT., and the backup opportunity will be on Wednesday, October 5th.  

Cassada will spend around five months at the space station. He earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Albion College in 1995 and his Ph.D. at the University of Rochester, where he conducted experimental high-energy physics research at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Prior to his selection to join NASA in 2013, Cassada served as a test pilot in the US Navy, and has over 3,500 hours in more than 40 aircraft, and 23 combat missions. He is a member of Crew-5 and will be piloting the Dragon Endurance spacecraft in the SpaceX-powered launch. Astronauts Nicole Aunapu Mann, Japan's Koichi Wakata, and Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina will accompany him on the trip to the International Space Station (ISS). And it’s a historic flight, marking the first time a cosmonaut has ever ridden a private United States spacecraft to the ISS. 

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It is now just a matter of waiting for the perfect moment for Albion College alumni Josh Cassada to roar into space and pilot a spacecraft, viewing the state of Michigan from heights that any other Albion College graduates have had to brave. 

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