Conclusion: Towards Space Station Expeditions
Having delivered on its promise to be a central partner in the ISS project, during the next ten years Canada increased its direct participation in station operations that would eventually lead it to obtaining the most desired crew assignment – command of an ISS expedition. The first Canadian astronaut to serve as a permanent ISS crewmember was Dr. Robert Thirsk, who was part of ISS Expedition 20/21 that lasted from 27 May to 1 December 2009. He was followed by Chris Hadfield who, as ISS commander during Expedition 34/35, did an extraordinary job in getting those distracted by daily life down on Earth excited once more about all the wonders of space exploration. Serving aboard the ISS from 19 December 2012 to 13 May 2013, Hadfield went on to become an iconic astronaut, connecting with both celebrities and also a very attentive public back on Earth in a way few others before him had; he even recorded a music video in orbit, singing a new rendition of David Bowie’s famous song ‘Space Oddity’. Through social media – including tweeting from orbit with Canadian actor William Shatner – and music, Hadfield did truly yeoman service to all space agencies and programs by demonstrating a common touch and remarkable ability to spark every person’s imagination and wonder about space exploration. His impact on the International Space Station program was, in fact, great enough that at the time of this writing Canadians are still digesting it through his own published memoir as well as other social media reflections.