Chris Hadfield

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Chris Hadfield bigraphy, stories - Canadian astronaut

Chris Hadfield : biography

29 August 1959 –

Chris Austin Hadfield, (born 29 August 1959) is a retired Canadian astronaut who was the first Canadian to walk in space. A former Royal Canadian Air Force pilot, Hadfield has flown two space shuttle missions and served as commander of the International Space Station.

Hadfield, who was raised on a farm in southern Ontario, was inspired as a child when he watched the Apollo 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 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. He obtained a master’s degree in aviation systems at the University of Tennessee Space Institute.

In 1992, he was accepted into the Canadian astronaut program by the Canadian Space Agency. He first flew in space aboard STS-74 in November 1995 as a mission specialist. During the mission he visited the Russian space station Mir. In April 2001 he flew again on STS-100 and visited the International Space Station (ISS). During the mission he walked in space and helped to 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 and facebook 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 an astronaut.

Education and military career

Hadfield attended White Oaks Secondary School in Oakville, Ontario until his senior year and then graduated as an Ontario Scholar from Milton District High School in 1977. As a member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, he earned a glider pilot scholarship at age 15 and a powered pilot scholarship at age 16. After graduating from high school in 1978, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces and spent two years at Royal Roads Military College followed by two years at the Royal Military College, where he received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1982. Before graduating, he also underwent basic flight training at CFB Portage la Prairie. In 1983, he took honours as the top graduate from Basic Jet Training at CFB Moose Jaw, and then went on to train as a tactical fighter pilot with 410 Tactical Fighter Operational Training Squadron at CFB Cold Lake, flying the Canadair CF-116 Freedom Fighter and the McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet. After completing his fighter training, Hadfield flew CF-18 Hornets with 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron, flying intercept missions for NORAD. He was the first CF-18 pilot to intercept a Soviet Tupolev Tu 95 long-range bomber in the Canadian Arctic.

In the late 1980s, Hadfield attended the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base and served as an exchange officer with the U.S. Navy at Strike Test Directorate at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. His accomplishments from 1989 to 1992 included testing the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet and LTV A-7 Corsair II aircraft; performing research work with NASA on pitch control margin simulation and flight; completing the first military flight of F/A-18 enhanced performance engines; piloting the first flight test of the National Aerospace Plane external burning hydrogen propulsion engine; developing a new handling qualities rating scale for high angle-of-attack test; and participating in the F/A-18 out-of-control recovery test program.