Inside space shuttle Endeavor, mission specialist Chris Cassidy participates in a simulated launch countdown.  Photo: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Inside space shuttle Endeavor, mission specialist Chris Cassidy participates in a simulated launch countdown. Photo: NASA/Kim Shiflett

The year after Chris Cassidy earned his ocean engineering masters from MIT, he and a team of fellow Navy SEALS were deployed to Afghanistan to try to take down top al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Eight years later, Cassidy is preparing for a new mission: Space.

The 39-year-old father of three will be the second SEAL in space when he takes off in the shuttle Endeavor for the International Space Station. Mission STS-127, for which Cassidy is serving as mission specialist, will last 16 days. One of the main objectives is to complete construction of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo laboratory.

The launch, originally scheduled for June 17th, has been delayed twice because of a hydrogen leak. NASA reported on Sunday that a plate that attaches the vent line to the shuttle’s external fuel tank is slightly misaligned, thus causing the tank to leak during fueling.

The new launch date is scheduled for July 11 at 7:39 pm EDT. If you’re interested in keeping up to date about the mission’s progress, check out NASA’s Web site for online updates, or subscribe to the NASA twitter feed.