Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield

Chris Austin Hadfield, a retired astronaut and the first Canadian to walk in space, was born on August 29, 1959, in Sarnia and was brought up on a corn farm in Southern Ontario.  Chris was taken with flying at a very early age, particularly influenced by his father Roger, who was a pilot with Air Canada and also flew his own aerobatic plane. Chris and his brothers were airline cadets, he was awarded the glider pilot scholarship at age 15 and a powered pilot scholarship when he was 16. His brothers went on to become airline pilots however, Chris had other plans and after graduating from Milton District High School in 1977 he opted for the Canadian Armed Forces in May 1978. He graduated from Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1982. He trained as a basic pilot in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, and later in 1984, he trained as a fighter pilot in Cold Lake, Alberta on CF-5s and CF-18s.

Chris Hadfield’s eminent career began with three years of working with Canadian Forces, flying the CF-18s in Québec. His list of accomplishments begins with being the first CF-18 pilot to intercept a Soviet “Bear” aircraft in Canadian airspace in 1985. Later, he was sent to attend the US Air Force’s test pilot (“top gun”) school in California, where he graduated with the honour of the best graduate of 1988. Next, he became a Canadian exchange officer at the US Naval Air Test Centre in Patuxent River, Maryland — a highly acclaimed training centre for US astronauts. In 1991, he was honoured with the US Navy’s test pilot of the year award for his services of pushing high-performance aircraft out of control and contemplating ways to recover them.

In June 1992, Hadfield was selected along with four new Canadian astronauts from a field of 5330 applicants and was sent by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to the NASA Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas where he worked as a technician addressing the problems of safety issues for Shuttle Operations Development, development of the glass shuttle cockpit, and contributed to the shuttle launches at the Kennedy Space Centre, in Florida. Moreover, Hadfield became NASA’s Chief Capsule Communicator in Mission Control (CAPSCOM), where he controlled the mission of 25 space shuttle missions in orbit. In November of 1995, Hadfield became the first and the only Canadian to ever board the Russian Mir and operate Canadarm in orbit when he served as Mission Specialist 1 on STS-74, NASA’s second space shuttle mission. From 1996 to 2000, he represented CSA astronauts as the Chief Astronaut.

From the year 2001-2003, Hadfield presided as the Director of Operations for NASA at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (GCTC) in Star City, Russia. In April 2001, he earned the honour of being the first Canadian to ever leave the confines of a spacecraft and float freely in space when he was assigned as a Mission Specialist 1 on STS-100 International Space Station (ISS) assembly Flight 6A. During the 11-day flight, Chris Hadfield made two spacewalks and spent 14 hours, 54 minutes in spaces, travelling around the world 10 times.

Hadfield retired from the Canadian Air Force in 2003 after serving the military for 25 years. From 2003-2006, he served as the  Chief of Robotics for the NASA Astronaut Office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and later, from 2006-2008 he served as the Chief of International Space Station Operations. In 2010, Hadfield was selected to be a part of the Expedition 34/35. On December 19, 2012, he was assigned to take part in the longest spaceflight aboard the ISS, becoming the first Canadian to command the ISS. On May 13 2013, Hadfield along with his colleagues Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko landed in Kazakhstan after spending 146 days in space, traveling nearly 99.8 million kilometres and completing 2,336 orbits of Earth.

Chris Hadfield is awarded with numerous awards and honors and currently resided in Canada where he is a professor at the University Of Waterloo.

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