Astronaut | First Canadian Commander of the International Space Station (2013)
“Good morning, Earth!” That is how Colonel Chris Hadfield–writing on Twitter–woke up the world every day while living for five months aboard the International Space Station. Through his 21-years as an astronaut and three spaceflights, Colonel Hadfield has become a worldwide sensation, harnessing the power of social media to make outer space accessible to millions and infusing a sense of wonder into our collective consciousness not felt since humanity first walked on the Moon. Called “the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong,” Colonel Hadfield continues to bring the marvels of science and space travel to everyone he encounters.
Colonel Hadfield is a pioneer of many historic “firsts”. In 1992 he was selected by the Canadian Space Agency as a NASA Mission Specialist–Canada’s first fully-qualified Space Shuttle crew member. Three years later, aboard Shuttle Atlantis, he was the first Canadian to operate the Canadarm in space, and the first Canadian to board a Russian spacecraft as he helped build space station “Mir.” In 2001, aboard Shuttle Endeavour, Colonel Hadfield performed two spacewalks–the first Canadian to do so–and in 2013, he was Commander of the International Space Station–the first and only Canadian to ever command a spaceship, so far.
During his multi-faceted career, Colonel Hadfield has intercepted Soviet bombers in Canadian airspace, lived on the ocean floor, been NASA’s Director of Operations in Russia, and recorded science and music videos seen by hundreds of millions.
A heavily decorated astronaut, engineer, and pilot, Colonel Hadfield’s many awards include receiving the Order of Canada, the Meritorious Service Cross, and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. He was named the Top Test Pilot in both the US Air Force and the US Navy, and has been inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. He is the author of the internationally bestselling book An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, and has been commemorated on Canadian postage stamps, Royal Canadian Mint silver and gold coins, and on Canada’s newest five dollar bill (along with fellow astronauts Steve MacLean and Dave Williams).