Canadian astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield is a man of many firsts. He was the first Canadian to operate the Canadarm, walk in space, and command the International Space Station. Sometimes he's even known to strum a tune.
Chris Hadfield (born August 29, 1959) was among the first four Canadians selected to become astronauts by the Canadian Space Agency and became the first Canadian to walk in space.
Chris was born in Sarnia, Ontario and attended high school in Milton, Ontario, near Toronto. He earned an engineering degree from the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. He trained as a pilot in the Canadian Armed Forces and was top graduate in his Jet Training class in 1983. After flying CF-18 fighter jets for NORAD for three years, he attended the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California. His work then turned to research and testing as an exchange officer at Strike Test Directorate with the US Navy. In 1993, Chris successfully competed with more than 5300 applicants to join the space program, and was assigned to NASA's Johnson Space Center. For 25 shuttle missions, Chris was "the voice of mission control," the Chief CAPCOM for NASA.
For his first shuttle mission (STS-74) in 1995, Chris was Mission Specialist #1 on the Atlantis, operating the Canadarm for NASA's second space shuttle mission to rendezvous with the Russian Space Station Mir. On his next mission (STS-100), as Mission Specialist on the Endeavour in 2001, Chris spent 14 hours, 54 minutes outside the craft on the first spacewalk for a Canadian. On this mission, the crew used the Canadarm2 robotic arm to support assembly of the new International Space Station.
Chris Hadfield is currently NASA's Director of Operations at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia.