Ottawa, Ontario – Chris Hadfield is currently the Commander of the International Space Station. He received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering (with honours) from the Royal Military College in Kingston, conducted post-graduate research at the University of Waterloo, and received a Master of Science in aviation systems at the University of Tennessee.
Chris Hadfield joined the Canadian Armed Forces in May 1978. He underwent basic flight training in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, for which he was named top pilot in 1980. In 1983, he took honours as the overall top graduate from Basic Jet Training in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and in 1984-1985, he trained as a fighter pilot in Cold Lake, Alberta on CF-5s and CF-18s.
For the next three years, Colonel Hadfield flew CF-18s for the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) with 425 Squadron, during which time he flew the first CF-18 intercept of a Soviet “Bear” aircraft. He attended the United States Air Force (USAF) Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, in California, and upon graduation, 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 F/A-18 and A-7 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. In total, Colonel Hadfield has flown over 70 different types of aircraft.
In June 1992, Colonel Hadfield was selected to become one of four new Canadian astronauts from a field of 5,330 applicants. He was assigned by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, in August of the same year, where he addressed technical and safety issues for Shuttle Operations Development; contributed to the development of the glass shuttle cockpit; and, supported shuttle launches at the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. In addition, Chris Hadfield was NASA's Chief CapCom – the voice of mission control to astronauts in orbit – for 25 space shuttle missions. From 1996 to 2000, he represented CSA astronauts and coordinated their activities as the Chief Astronaut for the CSA.
From 2001 to 2003, Colonel Hadfield was the Director of Operations for NASA at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (GCTC) in Star City, Russia. 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 International Partners. While in that role, 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.
Chris Hadfield is a civilian CSA astronaut, having retired as a Colonel from the Canadian Air Force in 2003 after 25 years of military service. He was Chief of Robotics for the NASA Astronaut Office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, from 2003-2006, and was Chief of International Space Station Operations there from 2006-2008.
Colonel Hadfield has received a number of Special Honours throughout his distinguished career: recipient of the 1988 Liethen-Tittle Award (top pilot graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School); U.S. Navy Test Pilot of the Year (1991); honorary Doctorate of Engineering from the Royal Military College (1996); member of the Order of Ontario (1996); honorary Doctorate of Laws from Trent University (1999); Vanier Award (2001); Meritorious Service Cross (2001); NASA Exceptional Service Medal (2002); Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal (2003). In addition, Colonel Hadfield was inducted into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 2005 and was commemorated on Royal Canadian Mint silver and gold coins in 2006 for his spacewalk to install Canadarm2 on the International Space Station.
Chris Hadfield is affiliated with several organizations: the Royal Military College Club; the Society of Experimental Test Pilots; the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute; Honourary Patron of Lambton College; Trustee of Lakefield College School; Board member of Vintage Wings of Canada; and, President of the Association of Space Explorers.
Colonel Hadfield was born August 29, 1959, in Sarnia, and raised in Milton, Ontario. He is married to Helene Hadfield and they have three children.
In November 1995, Chris Hadfield served as Mission Specialist 1 on STS-74, NASA's second space shuttle mission to rendez-vous and dock with the Russian Space Station Mir. He was the first Canadian mission specialist, the first Canadian to operate the Canadarm in orbit, and the only Canadian to have ever boarded Mir. During the flight, the crew of Space Shuttle Atlantis attached a five-tonne docking module to Mir and transferred over 1,000 kg of food, water, and scientific supplies to the cosmonauts.
In April 2001, Colonel Hadfield served as Mission Specialist 1 on STS-100 International Space Station (ISS) assembly Flight 6A. The crew of Space Shuttle Endeavour delivered and installed Canadarm2, the new Canadian-built robotic arm, as well as the Italian-made resupply module Raffaello. 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. In total, Hadfield spent 14 hours, 54 minutes outside, travelling 10 times around the world.
From 2008 to 2009, Colonel Hadfield served as the backup for Dr. Bob Thirsk for Expedition 20/21, a long-duration spaceflight, training to live and work on board the ISS for a period up to six months. After this assignment, he supported the ISS Operations Branch and developed Emergency procedures for the ISS.
From May 10 to 23, 2010, Chris Hadfield was the Commander of NEEMO 14, a NASA undersea mission to test exploration concepts living in an underwater facility off the Florida coast. NEEMO 14 used the ocean floor to simulate exploration missions to the surface of asteroids, moons and Mars in order to gain a better understanding of how astronaut crews interact with equipment including advanced spacesuits, a lander, a rover and robotic arms.
In June 2010, Chris Hadfield was part of the Pavilion Lake research team, located 420 km northeast of Vancouver. Pavilion Lake is one of the few places on Earth where microbialites are found. The team used a combination of remotely operated vehicles, autonomous underwater vehicles, SCUBA divers and DeepWorker submersibles to help understand how the microbialites formed and possibly make it easier to identify potential forms of extraterrestrial life on future missions to Mars.
In September 2010, Chris Hadfield was assigned to Expedition 34/35. On December 19, 2012, he launched aboard the Russian Soyuz, becoming the second Canadian to take part in a long-duration spaceflight aboard the ISS. Chris Hadfield became the first Canadian Commander of the ISS on March 13, 2013, taking the helm from U.S. Commander Kevin Ford (NASA). He is scheduled to stay aboard the ISS until May 13, 2013, when he is due to return to Earth in a Russian Soyuz capsule.