It was a real pleasure to get to chat with astronaut Hansen. He was thoughtful and very generous with his time. I know I speak for everyone involved when I extend a big THANK YOU to both him and the Canadian Space Agency for their assistance in making this happen.
I’m very excited to announce that I will be traveling to the headquarters of the Canadian Space Agency at the John H. Chapman Space Centre in lovely Montreal on February 7, 2013 for the Twitter event with Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield (who will be participating from the International Space Station) and fellow Canadian Astronaut Jeremy Hansen.
You should get to know Chris Hadfield. It’s an amazing story. He was born and grew up in small Ontario towns during the Space Race. Just before his 10th birthday he saw Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon (in fact we just passed the 43rd anniversary of the first Moon Walk – July 20, 1969). Chris was inspired that night to go into space himself.
And then he did something pretty incredible, particularly for a farm kid from Milton, Ontario: he actually did it.
He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. He got an engineering degree. Then a Masters degree in aviation systems. He won several Top Pilot awards – including a nod from the US Navy for being the Top Test Pilot in 1991.
In 1992 the Canadian Space Agency was hiring astronauts. Over 5,300 people applied for four jobs. Hadfield snagged one of the most highly sought after positions in the country (along with Mike McKay, Julie Payette, and Dave Williams).
Since then Chris was NASA’s voice of Mission Control (CapCom) for 25 Space Shuttle missions, he was the Chief Astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency, he’s been the Director of Operations for NASA at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (GCTC) in Star City, Russia where his work 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 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. Hadfield was also Chief of International Space Station Operations at JSC in Houston from 2006-2008.
Oh, and he’s already flown into space twice during the Space Shuttle era: STS-74 in November 1995 and STS-100 in April 2001.
On STS-74 Hadfield flew as the first Canadian mission specialist, the first Canadian to operate the Canadarm in orbit, and the only Canadian to ever board the Russian Space Station Mir.
During STS-100 the crew of Space Shuttle Endeavour delivered and installed Canadarm2, the new robotic arm for the International Space Station. During the 11-day flight, Hadfield performed two spacewalks, which made him the first Canadian to ever leave a spacecraft and float freely in space. Chris spent nearly 15 hours “outside” over the two spacewalks, completing 10 orbits of the Earth.
Not bad for a kid from rural Ontario.
Chris Hadfield is now prepping for his third and longest spaceflight. In December he will launch on a six-month mission to the International Space Station for Expedition’s 34 and 35. And, as he’s become accustom to, he will accomplish another first during this mission: Hadfield will become the first Canadian to command the International Space Station, in March 2013 when Expedition 35 begins.
That’s where the “Chris Hadfield World Tour” comes in. The Canadian Space Agency has come up with this clever publicity campaign to support Chris and his current mission. I’m sure you get what it’s about from watching the video at the top of this page. You are encouraged to get (or make) a 2-D version of Chris and take him around with you – taking pictures all along the way. With some help from my awesome friend Mike and some amazing colleagues I produced that video.
Hopefully the folks at the Canadian Space Agency (and Chris!) approve.
(Update: based on these couple Tweets, I suspect that the CSA & Chris are happy with what they see!)
Chris & The CSA Tweet about the video
And if you haven’t gotten enough of Chris Hadfield yet, here are another couple videos you will probably enjoy:
First is a video from CBC Music featuring Chris and Ed Robertson (of Barenaked Ladies fame) in a song-writing session. They are preparing to perform a duet during Chris’ upcoming mission to the ISS. Ed will be in Toronto, and Chris will be 350km above on board the Station. You may recognize some of the song from my World Tour video you already watched.
Second is a segment from Global TV’s program 16×9. It is a good overall look at Chris Hadfield: Canada’s Rocket Man.
Harrison lives in Ottawa, Canada. He works in politics and is passionate about many things, including space and exploration. He's worked for a national news outlet, managing the digital products, writing news, and appearing on air to talk about science, technology, and politics. In his spare time he enjoys astronomy, scuba diving, flying airplanes, photography, and sports.