Spotlight on Chris Hadfield: Astronaut & All-Around Fun Guy
Thursday, June 14th, 2012
by AJ Plunkett
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield just knows how to have fun.
First, Hadfield said he’d help Barenaked Ladies’ Ed Robertson write the official song for Music Monday 2013 – while in space! Now he’s offering to accompany all sorts of folks around the country just so they can pose with him for photographs and enter the Canadian Space Agency’s first ever photo contest! OK, well, not really him, it’s his 2D image. But it’s still pretty awesome.
Chris Hadfield has been in aviation his whole life. He is the son of a Canadian airline pilot and, according to his official bio, Hadfield entered the Royal Canadian Air Cadets at age 13.
Eventually training as a fighter pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force, Hadfield did tours on exchange with the U.S. Air Force and Navy, earning high honors as the Navy’s top test pilot in 1991.
Having watched the race to the moon during his childhood, Hadfield felt a strong pull to fly higher and higher. At age 32, he and three others were selected out of 5,300 applicants to be part of the country’s second class of astronauts.
Hadfield has been into space twice — first in 1994 aboard a Space Shuttle heading to Russia’s Mir Space Station. Here he was the first Canadian to operate the famed Canadarm in space, and then again on a 2001 Shuttle journey.
That’s a lot of excitement for one lifetime, but it’s all just a prelude to Hadfield’s next adventure.
In December, Chris will return to space; this time to the International Space Station where he is expected to take command in March 2013 for the last three months of a six-month mission. This will be another first (of course!), as Hadfield becomes the first Canadian to command the orbiting space lab.
While aboard the Space Station, Hadfield has some goals. And they don’t all revolve around using Canadarm2, catching a spacecraft, taking spacewalks, or overseeing important science experiments. (Though he’ll be doing all that, too.)
As an accomplished musician (astronaut rock – what else?), he will hook up with a guitar made in Vancouver, which will already be aboard the ISS, and just might — he’s still considering it — record the first-ever album in space.
And that would be even more awesome than the photo op!
You can be a part of all this wonderful-ness by taking the Chris Hadfield World Tour Photo Challenge!
There are three ways to do it:
- Visit a place like the Cosmodôme, or the Manitoba Museum, or the Northern Lights Centre, or any of seven other partner science centres and take a photo with the life-sized ‘Chris 2D’.
- Print your own ‘Chris 2D’ image on cardstock, cut it out, and then have someone take a photo of you with Chris at your favorite space.
- Or insert a digital image of Chris into a photo of your own editing.
Once submitted, the photos will be put online, where the three that get the most votes will earn a mission T-shirt signed by Hadfield. The big winner will have a chance to virtually meet the astronaut rocker during a private get together via Adobe Connect or Skype after the mission.
For more details, go to www.asc-csa.gc.ca/ChrisHadfield
Have some fun with it — you know Chris would!
AJ Plunkett is a freelance writer in Virginia with experience in covering defense and aerospace industries as well as the military. AJ blogs via Contently.com.