Born: Chris Austin Hadfield August 29, 1959
Chris Hadfield is a retired Canadian astronaut who was the first Canadian to walk in space. An engineer and former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot, Hadfield has flown two space shuttle missions and served as commander of the International Space Station.
Raised on a corn farm in southern Ontario, he was inspired as a child when he watched the Apollo 11 Moon landing on TV. He attended high school in Oakville and Milton and earned his glider pilot licence as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force Cadets. He joined the Canadian Armed Forces and earned an engineering degree at Royal Military College. While in the military he learned to fly various types of aircraft and eventually became a test pilot and flew several experimental planes. As part of an exchange program with the United States Navy and United States Air Force, he obtained a master's degree in aviation systems at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in 1992 where his thesis concerned high-angle attack aerodynamics of the F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet. In total, Hadfield has flown over 70 different types of aircraft.
In 1992 he was accepted into the Canadian Space Agency. He first flew in space aboard STS-74 in November 1995 as a mission specialist. During the mission he visited Russian space station Mir. In April 2001 he flew again on STS-100 and visited the International Space Station (ISS), where he walked in space and helped install the Canadarm2. In December 2012 he flew for a third time aboard Soyuz TMA-07M and joined Expedition 34 on the ISS. He was a member of this expedition until March 2013 when he became the commander of the ISS as part of Expedition 35. He was responsible for a crew of five astronauts and helped to run dozens of scientific experiments dealing with the impact of low gravity on human biology.
During the mission, he also gained popularity by chronicling life aboard the space station and taking pictures of the earth and posting them through Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Tumblr to a large following of people around the world. He was a guest on television news and talk shows and gained popularity by playing his guitar in space. His mission ended in May 2013 when he returned to earth.
Shortly after returning, he announced his retirement,
capping a 35-year career as a military pilot and astronaut.
Personal Life: He is married to his high-school girlfriend Helene and they have three adult children. Hadfield used to be a ski instructor at Glen Eden Ski Area in Milton before becoming a test pilot.
He is a devoted fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and wore a Leaf's jersey under his spacesuit during his Soyuz TMA-07M reentry in May 2013. After the 2012 NHL Lockout ended, Chris tweeted a photo of himself holding a Maple Leafs logo...and stated he was “ready to cheer his team on from orbit.” He also sang the Canadian National Anthem during the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens game on 18 January 2014.
NASA Experience: Hadfield was selected to become one of four new Canadian astronauts from a field of 5,330 applicants in June 1992. He was assigned by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas in August, where he addressed technical and safety issues for Shuttle Operations Development...contributed to the development of the glass shuttle cockpit..and supported shuttle launches at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In addition, Hadfield was NASA's Chief CAPCOM, the voice of mission control to astronauts in orbit, for 25 space shuttle missions. From 1996 to 2000 he represented CSA astronauts and coordinated their activities as the Chief Astronaut for the CSA.
He was the Director of Operations for NASA at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center (GCTC) in Star City, Russia from 2001 to 2003. Some of his duties included coordination and direction of all International Space Station crew activities in Russia...oversight of training and crew support staff...as well as policy negotiation with the Russian Space Program and other International Partners. He also trained and became fully qualified to be a flight engineer cosmonaut in the Soyuz TMA spacecraft and to perform spacewalks in the Russian Orlan spacesuit.
He was the Chief of Robotics for the NASA Astronaut Office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas from 2003 to 2006 and was Chief of International Space Station Operations from 2006 to 2008.
In 2008 and 2009, he trained as a back-up to Robert Thirsk on the Expedition 21 mission. In May 2010 Hadfield served as the commander of the NEEMO 14 mission aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory, living and working underwater for fourteen days. NASA announced in 2010 that Hadfield would become the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station on 21 December. He remained on the station for five months...departing on 13 May 2013. In June, Hadfield announced his retirement from the Canadian Space Agency, effective 3 July 2013. He stated that after living primarily in the United States since the 1980's for his career, he would be moving back to Canada, “making good on a promise I made my wife nearly 30 years ago ~ that yes, eventually, we would be moving back to Canada.” He noted that he plans to pursue private interests outside government there.
Social Media: During the time on the ISS, he received significant exposure and ended his time by paying tribute to David Bowie with a rendition of “Space Oddity”. Hadfield was described as “perhaps the most social media savvy astronaut ever to leave Earth” by Forbes after building a considerable audience on social media, including over 1,000,000 Twitter Followers as of June 2013...and creating one of the top Reddit AmA threads of all time. He also has a popular Tumblr Blog. Hadfield had enlisted the help of his web-savvy son to manage his social media presence.
Post Retirement: On October 2013, the University of Waterloo announced that Hadfield will join the university as a professor for a three-year-term beginning in the Fall 2014. Hadfield's work is expected to involve...instructing and advising roles in aviation programs offered by the Faculty of the Environment and Faculty of Science...as well as assisting in ongoing research regarding the health of astronauts with the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.
In 2013, Hadfield published a memoir...An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.
The book was a 'New York Times bestseller' and was also the bestselling book in Canada on a Canadian subject. (His book contains numerous Guides to Life and Quotes from his experiences which I shall share with you, my readers on a separate blog entry.)
Special Honours...and Citations have been been awarded him...too numerous to list in this writing.
For starters: an airport in Sarnia was renamed...two schools in Milton are named after him...plus one in Bradford, Ontario. Asteroid 14143 Hadfield is also named after him. In 2005, 820 Milton Blue Thunder Squadron was renamed “820 Chris Hadfield Squadron” in honour of his being a cadet there.
In 2014, he was added to the Wall of Honour at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston!
Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...March 28, 2015
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