Veteran Astronaut Chris Hadfield Selected as Space Station Expedition 35 Commander

The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology) announced today at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters that veteran astronaut Chris Hadfield will be Canada's first Commander of the International Space Station and only the second Canadian astronaut to participate in a six month long duration mission aboard the International Space Station. Robert Thirsk was the first Canadian to spend six month on the International Space Station.

As reported earlier this year by SpaceRef Hadfield will fly to the International Space Station in November of 2012 onboard a Russian Soyuz 33 rocket as a member of Expedition 34. He will then transition to Commander of the International Space Station for Expedition 35 and will spend a total of 6 months aboard the space station.

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Along with Hadfield, NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko will serve as flight engineers for the Expedition 34 mission. NASA astronaut Kevin Ford and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin were previously announced as the other crew members for Expedition 34, which begins when Soyuz 31 undocks from the station in October 2012. Expedition 35 will begin with the undocking of Soyuz 32 in March 2013. At that time, Hadfield will serve as station commander, with Marshburn and Romanenko continuing as flight engineers. Three additional crew members for Expedition 35 have yet to be assigned. They will travel to the station aboard Soyuz 34 in March 2013.

Hadfield has been in space twice. First in 1995 as Mission Specialist 1 on STS-74 which was NASA's second space shuttle mission to rendezvous and dock with the Russian Space Station Mir. In 2001 he served as Mission Specialist 1 on STS-100 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station. The crew delivered and installed Canadarm2 as well as the Italian-made resupply module Raffaello. During the 11-day flight, Hadfield performed two spacewalks, which made him the first Canadian to ever leave a spacecraft and float freely in space. In total, Hadfield spent 14 hours, 54 minutes outside, travelling 10 times around the world.

Below are part 1 and 2 of the question and answer session with Chris Hadfield as well as his remarks during the press conference.