Today, Parliamentary Secretary Chris Alexander, on behalf of Christian Paradis Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), took part in an event celebrating Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield's return to Canada following his successful five-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Chris Hadfield also used the opportunity to announce his plans to pursue new professional challenges.
"Chris Hadfield made space exploration history by becoming the first Canadian to command the International Space Station, a feat that instilled pride from coast-to-coast-to-coast," said Minister Paradis. His efforts have affirmed our country's world-renowned space expertise. I would like to personally thank Chris for his commitment to bringing the spirit of discovery not only to all Canadians, but to the world."
This was Chris Hadfield's third space flight. He was the only Canadian to visit the Russian space station Mir in 1995, the first Canadian to perform a spacewalk when he installed Canadarm2 onto the ISS in 2001.
Chris Hadfield's crowning achievement was becoming the first Canadian to command the ISS on March 13, 2013. As head of the ISS, he was responsible for maintaining the health and safety of the crew, and for keeping the Space Station productive and functioning properly. Some of these duties included engineering, vehicle safety and the supervision of over 100 science experiments; many with the potential to enhance the quality of our lives here on Earth and further enhance the strength and expertise of the Canadian scientific community.
He also brought the wonders of living and working on the ISS to Earth through Twitter, by sharing videos, and by taking part in educational events with school groups. A skilled communicator, Hadfield reignited global interest and excitement in the final frontier and put Canada's world-class reputation in Space centre stage.
The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of supporting Canada's space sector and remains committed to maintaining Canada's world-class reputation in space. For example, Canada's investments have led to the development of Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency's robotic handyman on board the ISS. Dextre is an indispensable mainstay in the construction and maintenance of the ISS, and is an outstanding technology that Canada has developed.
"Chris Hadfield has inspired all Canadians, especially our next-generation of scientists and engineers," said Parliamentary Secretary Chris Alexander. "His exceptional career achievements make him a true Canadian hero and icon."
"I am extremely proud to have shared my experience," said Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. "I will continue to reinforce the importance of space exploration through public speaking and will continue to visit Canadian schools through the CSA."
Mr. Hadfield's resignation is effective as of July 3rd, 2013.