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No family, fanfare for NASA astronaut launching next month

3 months 3 weeks 1 day ago Thursday, March 19 2020 Mar 19, 2020 March 19, 2020 10:23 AM March 19, 2020 in News - AP Texas Headlines

By MARCIA DUNN
AP Aerospace Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - A NASA astronaut who's about to leave the planet for six months will blast off without any family or fanfare because of the coronavirus. Chris Cassidy said Thursday that he won't have any guests at his April 9 launch from Kazakhstan. He expects to say goodbye to his wife Friday in Russia, three weeks earlier than planned. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, she's going back home to Houston. Cassidy is also dealing with a late crew switch. He'll spend 6 1/2 months on the International Space Station with two Russians assigned just a month ago. One of the original cosmonauts suffered an eye injury.

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