First Canadian International Space Station Commander Appointed

Public asked to propose science experiments to be conducting in orbit.

Comments Off on First Canadian International Space Station Commander Appointed September 2, 2010
by DE staff

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) announced today that astronaut Chris Hadfield will return to space for a third time and become the first Canadian Commander of the International Space Station (ISS).

Hadfield will launch aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket in December 2012, and take command of the station during the second half of a six-month mission. This will be the second long-duration mission for a Canadian astronaut.

"The selection of a Canadian astronaut for a long-duration mission and as Commander of the International Space Station reflects the achievements of our space exploration program and the renowned quality of our Canadian Astronaut Corps," stated the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology).

"Through our commitment to producing innovative, reliable Canadian space technology and the expertise of our highly skilled astronauts, Canada has earned the confidence of our international partners," added the Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

As an ISS flight engineer for the mission’s first four months, Hadfield will carry out scientific experiments, robotics tasks and technology demonstrations. As a veteran space-walker, he may be called upon to step out into space to perform tasks around the station. With the rotation of three of the six-member crew in March 2013, Hadfield will assume the role of Commander of Expedition 35.

As ISS Commander, Hadfield will be responsible for the safety of the crew, ongoing operations, maintenance and equipment of the ISS, while ensuring that the scientific experiments are carried out on behalf of Canadian and international scientists. He may also be called upon to operate Canadarm2 to perform assembly and maintenance tasks on the ISS, and to grapple and berth spacecraft to the station.

Hadfield is scheduled to return to Earth in a Soyuz spacecraft, landing in Kazakhstan in June 2013.

Hadfield has achieved a distinguished career in space exploration. He is the only Canadian to board Mir, the Russian Space Station, in 1995 and the first Canadian to perform a spacewalk—a feat accomplished when he attached Canadarm2 to the ISS in 2001.

In anticipation of his next space mission, Chris Hadfield has already started training in Canada, the U.S., and Russia. In 2009, he trained as backup to Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk, who took part in Canada’s first long-duration mission on the ISS.

The CSA will be asking the public to propose science experiments Hadfield can conduct on-orbit. It also intends to engage Canadians in the mission through a variety of activities, especially music – Hadfield is an avid guitar player and intends to make use of the Canadian-built guitar currently on the station. The objective is to inspire young Canadians to turn to science and technology, and choose studies that will allow them to take their place as members of Canada’s next space generation.