Chris Hadfield speaks at At-Bristol Science Centre

The former astronaut was in Bristol talking about his experiences of commanding the ISS

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BBC Sky at NIght Magazine editor Chris Bramley and staff writer Elizabeth Pearson join Chris Hadfield at At-Bristol Science Centre.


Chris Hadfield captured the imagination of millions with his stunning recording of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, the first music video to be recorded entirely in space. As the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station, he strove to bring the wonder of space to audiences across the globe.

Now that he has returned to Earth his quest continues and on 11 December 2014, we were lucky enough to hear the man himself talk at an event, hosted by Guardian Live at At Bristol.

“Sometimes impossible things happen because people put their minds to it,” he says, talking about the Apollo Moon landings that inspired the nine-year-old Hadfield to become an astronaut.

26 years later he succeeded. He describes the experience of being launched by a rocket, likening the acceleration to having sand poured upon your chest until you struggle to breathe but all the while attempting to fly the enormous craft beneath you.

“There is an enormous amount of human interaction that goes into flying a spaceship or it would kill you on a fairly regular basis,” he says. “If you can, I really recommend you take a ride like that. It’s fun.”

Commander Hadfield then went on to showcase just a few of the 45,000 photos he took whilst in orbit. Whether it’s the paint like strokes across the Australian outback, or the lights of London ringed by the M25, his images give a new perspective on our planet.

Of all the tales of space travel told, it was perhaps the story of his first spacewalk that most captured the attention of the audience.

“I wasn’t prepared for the first view where there was nothing between me and space,” says Hadfield whilst showing a video of himself pausing as he exits the Shuttle, struck dumb by the view in front of him.

Later into his spacewalk, Hadfield decided to turn off his visor lights so that he could get a good look at Australia passing below. He wasn’t prepared for the sight that would shortly follow.

“We drove right through the Southern Lights,” he says. “They were passing right between my legs.”

The experience of space travel is one that only a lucky few have been able to experience… so far. As private space companies become more advanced, and wide spread space travel comes closer to reality, Commander Hadfield is keen for as many people as possible to share this experience.

“There is an unspoken wall that separates us and them on this planet. When you’ve been around the world a few thousand times, you realise that there is no them. Only us.”

 


 You are Here: Around the World in 92 minutes is on sale now and, according to Mrs Hadfield would make a great gift for Christmas.

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