Okay, so you were a ski instructor. You became a test pilot. Now you're an astronaut. What's next? Are you going to become a ninja?
-- radio personality interviewing Chris Hadfield in the 1990s
Chris Hadfield, born August 29, 1959 in Sarnia, Canada, grew up on a corn farm in the Halton Region of Ontario. After high school, he joined the Canadian Military and studied engineering at Royal Military College. He also married; he and his wife Helena have two sons and a daughter.
It was the most magnificent experience of my life. Alone in a one-person spaceship (my suit), just holding on with my one hand, with the bottomless black universe on my left and the World pouring by in technicolour on my right. I highly recommend it.
--Chris Hadfield, on spacewalking.
Hadfield became a test pilot with the Canadian armed forces after graduating as the top pilot from USAF Test Pilot School in 1988. In 1992 he received a Master's Degree in aviation systems at the University of Tennessee Space Institute. Later that year, he was accepted into the Canadian astronaut program and flew missions between 1995 and 2012. On April 22, 2001, he became the first Canadian to walk in space during the installation of the International Space Station's Canadarm. In 2013 he became the commander of the station-- the first Canadian to hold that position. During his tenure, he began chronicling life in space on social media.
Planet Earth is blue
and there's nothing I can do.
--David Bowie, "Space Oddity"
Most famously, Hadfield began singing and recording music in space. On May 12, 2013, before returning to earth, he sang and broadcasted a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity." His entertaining and humanizing approach to life in orbit gave him celebrity status. In 2015, he released an album, Space Sessions: Songs from a Tin Can, based on recordings made off-world. In addition to "Space Oddity," the album features original works written by Hadfield alone or with his brother, Dave.
Hadfield has since worked as a professor at the University of Waterloo and researched issues in aviation and astronaut health. He published a book of memoirs, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything (2013) and a children's book, The Darkest Dark (2016), illustrated by Eric and Terry Fan. He has made numerous appearances in various media and at different venues, especially in Canada.
"The most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong."
--Widely quoted online, usually with a "some say..." or "the man who has been called..." The quotation may originate with the BBC, but I cannot confirm a specific place or time.
Hadfield has received numerous honours and accolades. He has had parks and schools named for him, and the Sarnia airport renamed for him. He is a member of the Order of Ontario (1996) and the Order of Canada (2014). He has received the Vanier Award (2001) for leadership in public service and administration, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal (both in 2002), and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012). He is the first Canadian to receive both a military and civilian Meritorious Service Cross. Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame inducted him in 2005, while he received his place on Canada's Walk of Fame in 2018.
reQuest 2020: an E2 revue
"Chris Hadfield." Canada's Walk of Fame. https://www.canadaswalkoffame.com/inductee/chris-hadfield.
"Chris Hadfield." Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Hadfield.
Alex Knapp. "Astronaut Chris Hadfield Sings David Bowie As He Departs The International Space Station." Forbes, May 13, 2013.
Official Chris Hadfield. Zync.ca. https://chrishadfield.ca/.
"Retired Milton astronaut Chris Hadfield to join Canada's Walk of Fame." The Milton Canadian Champion, July 24, 2018.
"Spacewalks." Canada Space Agency Official Site. Government of Canada. https://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/astronauts/about-the-job/spacewalks.asp.