Can Canada’s sensational spacemen find happiness back on Earth

Chris Hadfield says it's "good to know" his suit still fits after five months in orbit ~ Chris Hadfield CSA/NASA Photo

Chris Hadfield says it’s “good to know” his suit still fits after five months in orbit ~ Chris Hadfield CSA/NASA Photo

Published May 11, 2013 _ Chris Hadfield, also known as “the coolest guy in outer space,” will soon be packing up his camera, guitar and keyboard for his descent back to Earth next week. But what, exactly, does he return to? Is any career back on solid ground going to be enough?

The 53-year-old farm boy from southern Ontario is due to blaze across the sky in a Russian Soyuz capsule Monday evening before landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan.

His five-month mission to the International Space Station, where Hadfield has been both commander and seemingly non-stop entertainer, has been a sensation. He has enchanted millions with quirky videos, stunning photographs and often-poetic tweets. “This man has single-handedly made space sexy again,” one of his more than 750,000 followers tweeted recently. Continue reading

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The magic, good and bad, of life in orbit

Chris Hadfield says he can’t wait for the  “magic” of space, but he’ll also be exploring to the darker side of that magic as he circles the planet in coming months.

He’ll have the “superpower” to fly, but his bones, muscles – even his heart – will lose strength in the weightless environment. Wrinkles will vanish from his 53-year-old face – at least for the duration of the trip – but the extra space radiation in orbit might shorten his life.

The veteran astronaut from Sarnia, Ont., is set to  strap himself into a Soyuz rocket Wednesday morning and blast off to join the elite few to ever experience long duration space travel.

The International Space Station will be his home for the next five months. It’s a milestone for both Canada and Hadfield, who will be the first Canadian to take charge as commander of the $150-billion station during the second half of his stay.

From Earth, the high-flying laboratory looks like a bright star in the night sky. Continue reading