150+ Canadians Day 62: Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield contributed to peace by showing us how connected we all are on planet earth, from his post on the Intl. Space Stn. #Canada150

Colonel Chris Hadfield, was born on August 29, 1959, in Sarnia, Ontario. Engineer, test pilot, speaker and highly decorated astronaut, Chris Hadfield has had a life of exploration and trailblazing. He was the first Canadian to: walk in outer space, use the Canadarm, and board a Russian spacecraft (during his mission to the Russian space station), perform two spacewalks as a mission specialist on STS-100 in 2001.

In 2010 the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced Hadfield’s third mission: commanding the International Space Station (ISS), leading Expedition 35-again a first for a Canadian. Hadfield launched into space on December 19, 2012 and took command of the ISS on March 13, 2013.

Hadfield’s accessibility, whether answering questions such as “how do you wring out a washcloth in space,” via Skype or collaborating with The Barenaked Ladies for a song sung by over a million people simultaneously, endeared him to all. His multiple daily Tweets and photographs from the Space Station made people see the world differently. On his last day on the ISS, he posted his farewell music video online, a version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, it  garnering millions of views within the first hour.

His autobiography, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth is sub-titled, What Going to Space Taught Me about Ingenuity, Determination and Being Prepared for Anything, was a bestselling book in Canada as well as a New York Times bestseller.

“See, think, act – it’s how each of us changes the world,” said Chris at a We To Me Thank You Day in Montreal. When asked whether he thought the Canadian government should support the UN Secretary General’s call for a nuclear weapon convention, he replied, “Yes, of course; it is the only way to go.”

Honours and awards:

  • Order of Ontario
  • Honourary Doctorate of Laws from Trent University
  • Vanier Award
  • NASA Exceptional Service Medal
  • Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal
  • Inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame
  • Commemorated on the Royal Canadian Mint silver and gold coins

Hadfield announced his retirement from the CSA on July 4, 2013.

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