A moustache can tell you a lot about a man. When properly administered, it can say, “this man has commanded spacecraft”, “this man escorted Soviet bombers out of Canadian airspace”, or “this man lived in a research vessel at the bottom of the ocean.” These can be tall orders to live up to – having a moustache is a big responsibility.
“The first Canadian to walk in space.”
Col. Chris Hadfield has spent a lifetime living up to that responsibility. On July 20, 1969, when he quietly began his mission towards becoming an astronaut, the gap between being a young boy on an Ontario corn farm and the first Canadian to walk in space was unbridgeable. Canada had no astronaut program, nor would it for the foreseeable future. Chris stuck to it. He spent his time at home learning mechanics on the tractors and old cars, flying with his father and brothers every chance he could. Enrolling in air cadets, he worked his way up through the RCAF, becoming an experimental test pilot and flying over 70 types of aircraft. He made certain that when the opportunity arose, he would be prepared for it. In 1995, Chris Hadfield rode his first rocket.
Col. Hadfield continued striving. He flew again in 2001, installing Canadarm2. He served as Chief of Robotics, CapCom, and NASA’s operation in Russia, eventually going on to pilot a Russian Soyuz. The first Canadian commander of the International Space Station, a New York Times bestselling author, YouTube sensation and truly engaging speaker, Chris has worked hard to earn the right to wear his moustache.