Chris Hadfield has achieved great success throughout his career in the Canadian Air Force, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), as well as with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Hadfield is one of the most well known RMC Alumni, having gained a huge Twitter following and celebrity status through entertaining and informative social media posts, especially while on board the International Space Station.
Hadfield has long been passionate about aviation and flight. As an Air Cadet at the age of 15 he won a glider pilot scholarship, and the following year a powered pilot scholarship at age 16. Upon graduation from Milton District High School Hadfield joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1978, spending 2 years at RRMC followed by 2 years at RMC where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1982. During basic flight training in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba in 1980, Hadfield was named top pilot, and was honoured again in 1983 as overall top graduate from Basic Jet Training in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan. Hadfield spent 3 years flying CF-18s for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) with 425 Squadron before attending the United States Air Force (USAF) Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, in California. Upon graduation, Hadfield’s career brought him back to the United States, where he worked with the US Navy as well as NASA in testing experimental aircraft and engines. In total, Hadfield has flown more than 70 different types of aircraft. In 1992 the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) selected Hadfield and three other Canadians out of pool of 5330 applications to become astronauts. In 1995 Hadfield served as a mission specialist on Atlantis, a docking and rendezvous mission with the Russian Space Station, Mir, where he became the first Canadian to operate the Canadian robotic Canadarm in orbit. In 2001, Hadfield became the first Canadian to float freely in space while installing the Canadarm2 at the International Space Station. In 2003, after 25 years of service, Hadfield retired as a Colonel from the Canadian Air Force. Hadfield continued his work with NASA, which culminated with a 5-month stay aboard the International Space Station in 2012-2013, where he became the first Canadian to command a spaceship. Hadfield retired from the CSA in 2013.
Hadfield enjoys running, skiing, and squash, as well as writing, singing and playing guitar. Today, Hadfield spends much of his time writing, performing, and travelling as a speaker. He is a fellow Club member of whom we cannot help but be incredibly proud. If you have not already, check out Chris Hadfield performing an original song entitled ISS (Is Somebody Singing) from the International Space Station, accompanied by the Barenaked Ladies and Wexford Gleeks choir!