In story book fashion, CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield returned to Earth after a five-month mission that rekindled for thousands – if not millions - their wonder, curiosity and passion for space exploration. Hadfield did not just come back to Earth – he brought space with him, for everyone.
Accompanied by his crewmates NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn and cosmonaut Roman Romanenko in their Soyuz TMA-07, the three touched down on the steppe of Kazakhstan at 10:31 p.m. EDT on May 13, 2013. Hadfield was the last of the three to be pulled out of the scorched remains of their capsule, but was all smiles and thumbs up to the rescue crew and media who greeted him.
Their return was not without a touch of drama, however, as a few days prior an ammonia leak was detected on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS). Unsure of the cause, it was considered quite possible that their undocking with the ISS could be delayed. However, on May 11, NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn and Chris Cassidy got into their spacewalking suits and went to work, replacing a leaky pump in just under three hours.
The next day, Hadfield handed over command of the Space Station to colleague and long-time friend Pavel Vinogradov, ushering in the end of Expedition 35.
Before leaving the Station, Hadfield’s son Evan released Chris’ revised version of a Space Oddity, filmed almost exclusively throughout the modules of the Station. It was an immediate viral hit and sits at just under 13 million views at the time of this writing.
Going out on a high note, Hadfield is now rehabilitating in Houston, having been flown there soon after his landing in Kazakhstan. After five months in weightlessness he must readapt to a life where mics fall when let go, and even speaking feels different as the tongue has weight again. To find out more about the physical challenges Hadfield is going through, please see our flight surgeon’s updates on these matters.
On May 16, Hadfield performed his first news conference since returning to Earth, sharing his impressions of the mission and much more in his eloquent, thoughtful manner.
During five months in space, Hadfield became Canada’s first Commander of the International Space Station, performed over 130 science experiments, operated Canadarm2, and was at the centre of an integrated outreach campaign spearheaded by the CSA that captured headlines and hearts around the world. The mission was a success on every level, and will serve to inspire the next generation of Canadian and international scientists, astronauts, engineers and artists. While on orbit, Hadfield reflected on the mission, expressing his sense that this was a shared experience between himself and the people of Earth.
To see how this historic mission unfolded, please go to our Expedition 34/35 page and our social media channels. Keep in mind, we will also be posting more videos, photos and updates of Chris Hadfield’s recovery and re-adaptation to Earth. Thank you for following!