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Chris Hadfield flew into space on the wings of his family's love

Col. Chris Hadfield makes a point during his talk to students at École KLO Middle School.
Image Credit: Contributed
October 08, 2013 - 2:49 PM

KELOWNA - Astronaut Chris Hadfield says it was his complement, his wife and family, that made his dream to be an astronaut reality. 

Hadfield made a safe landing at each of his UBC Distinguished Speaker Series events yesterday, sharing stories of what it's like to be a spaceman.

Hadfield commanded the International Space Station for five months earlier this year and became a global sensation for his videos and tweets from space, including his rendition of David Bowie's Space Oddity. He was greeted like a rock star at the each of his scheduled stops that included Ecole KLO Middle school and the Kelowna Community Theatre.

As Canada's spaceman discussed his family life, he recalled how he and his wife and children struggled to make ends meet during his early years as an astronaut during the early 1980's, when he joined the Canadian space program. He was an engineer and accomplished test pilot and was considering abandoning his dream of navigating the stars. His wife Helene asked him to forego the notion.

Helene worried he would regret changing paths and his misery would spill over into the rest of his family life. She told him to pursue his dream to be an astronaut and they'd find a way to make it work.

Without his family's support, Hadfield says he would never have accomplished what he did.

More than 600 students received him at Ecole KLO Middle school and another 800 packed the Kelowna Community Theatre to hear Hadfield deliver his story of life in space. He described some of his 200 plus experiments performed aboard the space station and told tales of his personal life, including his ambition to become an astronaut from the age of nine.

Hadfield was asked about his music from space, where he co-wrote and recorded the song Is Somebody Singing with Ed Robertson and the Bare Naked Ladies. He told the audience he finds music relaxing and therapeutic, and said the exercise added a dimension to space exploration that he treasures.

"To bring the arts into space is really something special," Hadfield says. "We need to remind ourselves of our own humanity, whether it's on earth or in space."

Hadfield says the most fascinating time he had in space was during space walks. He called it an incomparible experience.

Hadfield’s appearance in the Okanagan in the Distinguished Speaker Series was sponsored by an endowment from the late Irving K. Barber, after whom UBC’s Okanagan campus School of Arts and Sciences is named.

Col. Chris Hadfield plays the song, Is Somebody Singing, with students at École KLO Middle School.
Col. Chris Hadfield plays the song, Is Somebody Singing, with students at École KLO Middle School.
Image Credit: Contributed
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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