Astronaut Chris Cassidy Honors NASA Langley's Watchdogs
By: Denise Lineberry
The Silver Snoopy Award is a link between the astronaut corps and members of the NASA and industry work team.
It is presented to individuals for outstanding efforts that contribute to the success of human space flight missions. The criteria ensure that the number of recipients normally represents 1 percent of the space program workforce.
At NASA Langley's Reid Conference Center on Thursday, astronaut Chris Cassidy continued more than four decades of tradition by giving the coveted "Silver Snoopy" award to eight individuals: Kamran Daryabeigi, David Johnson, Louis Simmons, Richard Thompson, Pete Veneris, Sandra Walker, Kathryn Wurster and Paul Roberts.
Cassidy presented the sterling silver pin that is flown aboard the space shuttle to each recipient. The pin, designed by Charles M. Schulz, is Snoopy wearing a space helmet and space suit. Recipients also are given a certificate and a letter of commendation, signed by an astronaut, citing the astronauts' appreciation for their outstanding performance.
"As astronauts, this is our award to give to people of NASA that do the jobs that allow us to do what we do," Cassidy said.
In February 2006, Cassidy completed Astronaut Candidate training. In July 2009 Cassidy completed his first space flight and logged over 376 hours in space, including 18 hours and five minutes in three spacewalks.
Cassidy shared his Endeavour (STS-127) experience with the crowd, showing the living quarters, the missions and experiments and sharing some of his insight.
He talked of being at the International Space Station with a multi-national crew. "We shared time together and looked out of the windows together," Cassidy said. "We saw the world with no borders between us … only greens and blues."
His job now is to assist astronauts from the shuttles after returning to Earth. He remembers his own return-to–Earth experience vividly. "You could hear the wind hissing by, but it wasn’t bumpy," he said. "I didn’t feel it until the front touched down. Then we waited for about an hour before leaving the Shuttle."
Last Sunday, Cassidy helped the STS-130 crew depart the shuttle. "That was kind of nostalgic for me," he said.
Cassidy spent 10 years as a member of U.S. Navy SEAL teams. He used an analogy to describe his gratitude to the recipients: "Take care of your shipmates."
"That exact analogy can be applied here," he said. "We wear the fancy blue suits and get to ride in rockets. But we are all shipmates here at NASA."
The "Silver Snoopy" also honors and requests the presence of the family members that support those receiving the honor. "We shouldn’t recognize the employee without recognizing the system behind them, the family unit," NASA Langley's Associate Director Cindy Lee said.
As the watchdog for the flight safety, Snoopy’s job is to promote excellence in every phase of space flight to help ensure mission success. And the eight individuals that were recognized at NASA Langley are the real-life watchdogs that the symbol represents.
The Researcher News
NASA Langley Research Center
Editor & Curator: Denise Lineberry
Managing Editor: Jim Hodges
Executive Editor & Responsible NASA Official: Keith Henry