Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hadfield Takes the Reigns as First Canadian Commander of Spaceship ISS

Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield has assumed command of the International Space Station, relieving Expedition 34 commander Kevin Ford of his position.

Hadfield, who has flown on two previous flights, including one stay aboard Russian space station Mir, was handed the keys to the orbiting laboratory- "Thank you very much for giving me the keys to the family car- we're gonna put some miles on it, but we'll bring it back in good shape".

Kevin Ford hands over command of the ISS to Chris Hadfield
The ceremony kicked off with Expedition 34 commander speaking about the remarkable work and record-breaking science that has been achieved during his time as commander. Then as a surprise to mark the special occasion of Hadfield becoming the first Canadian commander of the ISS, the Canadian national anthem was played, sparking a proud response from Hadfield- "Kevin thank you. You do me a tremendous honour by playing that song for me and my country".

However, Hadfield will officially take command of the ISS when Ford, Tarelkin and Novitskiy undock their Soyuz-TMA 06M space craft from the space station, marking the beginning of Expedition 35. Altogether, the departing trio will have spent 144 days in space since launching from Kazakhstan Oct. 23 2012.

Hadfield and his crewmates, NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, will tend to the station for two weeks until the arrival of three new crew members: NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin.