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Commander Chris Hadfield

Kirsty Young talks to astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield.

Kirsty Young's castaway is Chris Hadfield.

He was the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station and took part in three space missions spending a total of 166 days orbiting the Earth. He has spent over 14 hours doing two space walks.

He flew his first eight day mission into space in 1995 during which he visited the Russian space station Mir. In 2001 he paid his first visit to the International Space Station to help install Canadarm2, a robot arm helping to build the station which was launched three years previously. In 2012 he began his final five month stay in space on board the ISS. It was on this mission that his videos of life in space - including a film of him singing David Bowie's Space Oddity and accompanying himself on guitar - led to him enjoying a huge following on social media.

Chris was born in 1959 in Ontario, the second of five children: his father was a pilot and the family lived on a farm. He mapped out his future career aged nine when he watched Neil Armstrong become the first person to walk on the moon in 1969. In pursuit of his dream Chris first become an Air Cadet, then attended military college, becoming a fighter pilot and then a test pilot, as well as an aeronautical engineer. He finally achieved his ambition of becoming an astronaut in 1992.

He went onto become the Chief of Robotics at the NASA Astronaut Office and Chief of International Space Station Operations at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas. Following his final space mission, Chris retired from the Canadian Space Agency in July 2013. Amongst the awards he's received are the military Meritorious Service Cross, NASA's Exceptional Service Medal and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

36 minutes

Last on

Christmas Day 2015 07:00

Music Played

  • Stan Rogers

    Take It From Day To Day

    • From Coffee House to Concert Hall.
    • Borealis Records.
  • The Kingston Trio

    Scotch and Soda

    • The Kingston Trio Capitol Collector’s Series.
    • Capitol Records.
  • Elton John

    Funeral for a Friend

    • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
    • DJM.
  • The Guess Who

    No Time

    • American Woman.
    • RCA.

    • Choristers of St. Paul's Cathedral

      I Vow To Thee My Country

      Conductor: Barry Rose.
      • A Selection of Music for the Royal Occasion.
      • Cameo Classics.
  • Simon & Garfunkel


    • Bookends.
    • CBS.
  • Gordon Lightfoot

    If You Could Read My Mind

    • If You Could Read My Mind.
    • Reprise.
  • Brandi Carlile

    The Story

    • The Story.
    • Columbia.

    Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers


    Acoustic Guitar


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Chris Hadfield
Producer Cathy Drysdale


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