- Chad Keller had always dreamt of becoming an astronaut ever since he was a kid, but he tragically fell victim to the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.
- When retiring NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy read about Chad’s story, he decided to bring along his mementos in his final space mission.
- Thanks to Chris, Chad’s dream became a reality.
Chad Keller had dreamt of becoming an astronaut since he was 6. And even though his vision wasn’t sharp enough to pass the military requirements of becoming a fighter pilot, he held onto his dream by pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering.
When he was 29, he was the satellite propulsion specialist for the U.S. Department of Defense and National Reconnaissance Office. He was on his way home to California when the plane he was on — American Airlines Flight 77— crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. on September 11, 2001.
Chad’s life ended, but retiring NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy made his space mission dream a reality about two decades later.
Chris, a former Navy SEAL platoon commander, spent two tours in the Middle East in the aftermath of 9/11. When his second deployment ended in 2004, he started his training to become an astronaut.
He has since been involved in 10 spacewalks, two tours on the International Space station, and crewing aboard the Endeavor shuttle.
Since NASA allows astronauts to bring small personal keepsakes into their missions, Chris usually brought along mementos from his family. But for his final mission in 2020, he wanted to involve someone who would appreciate it.
It was then that he read about Chad Keller’s story at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City.
When he reached out to Chad’s father, Richard, with the proposition to include Chad in his upcoming mission, he was met with a resounding yes.
So when Chris and the rest of his crew lifted off on April 2020, he brought along several of Chad’s mementos: a photograph of Chad and his wife Lisa, some of his ashes, a programme from his memorial service, and pins from his days at Boeing and the University of Colorado.
Chris also brought a few commemorative items from the 9/11 Museum.
He then made sure to take a photo of each memento with a stunning backdrop of the Earth behind them.
Chris told CNN, “With each item that I pull out, I always pause for a second to think a little bit about the story to that particular item… the journey of that object from the hands that it was in, to my hands, to this window.”
Over the past 20 years, Chad’s family had been scattering his ashes to the places that meant the most to him. Finally, thanks to Chris, they were able to send them to the place he’s always dreamed of going to — space.
Source: Good News Network