At nine-years-old, Col. Chris Hadfield decided he wanted to be an astronaut, around the same age as some of our Lower School students who had the incredible opportunity to speak with the Canadian astronaut and spaceship commander.
“I watched Star Trek and 2001: A Space Odyssey as a kid and I thought it was so fascinating but it was all pretend,” said Col. Hadfield. “But when I was just turning 10, the first people were walking on the moon and I realized it wasn’t a fantasy, it could be a reality for me.”
Students in Grades 6 to 8 had a blast asking Col. Hadfield dozens of questions about his education, career path and time in space during a virtual discussion Tuesday. Each question was answered with vivid detail and an out of this world story, including what the most amazing thing Col. Hadfield saw from space during his three missions. “It wasn’t just one thing, but spacewalking through the northern lights as they poured past me was the most amazing thing that ever happened to me in my whole life,” said Col. Hadfield.
While being in space led to the most amazing moment in his life, Col. Hadfield also described the immense risks. “It’s the most dangerous thing I’ve done,” he said. “With one in 38 odds of dying on my first flight I had to decide if it was a danger I wanted to take.” Col. Hadfield also recounted what he was thinking in the final moments before his first liftoff. “It was November 12, we were launching out of Florida and what you’re thinking most about is your rocket ship, it wasn’t a time to think about anything else,” he said. “A tiny little bit of me was thinking about how excited I was but it was my job to fly this rocket ship.”
Students continued to ask interesting questions, including what happens if you get sick in space? “Fortunately, no one got sick,” he said, but Col. Hadfield was prepared as a trained emergency technician, who even learned how to freeze and pull teeth.
Trafalgar Castle School thanks Col. Hadfield for sharing his time with our students and for this memorable experience.