News & Views
Former NASA Astronaut Drops into Space Research Centre
Jan 10 2014
Canada’s first astronaut who became an overnight sensation with his stunning space photography and educational ‘how to’ videos visited the University of Leicester’s Space Research Centre (SRC) and the National Space Centre last month.
Colonel Chris Hadfield, a Royal Canadian Air Force Fighter Pilot who joined Canada’s Astronaut programme in 1992, first flew in space on the Russian Space station MIR and then in April 2001, made his first visit to the International Space Station (ISS) to install its ‘robot arm’, CanadaArm2. More recently, Chris was flight engineer on ISS expedition 34 and the first Canadian Commander of the ISS on expedition 35 from December 2012 to May 2013. It was during his time on the ISS that Chris captivated the world’s social media by tweeting his breathtaking photographs of the Earth from space.
Dr Harjinder Sembhi of the University of Leicester’s SRC’s Earth Observation Science group said: “Chris has done a fantastic job of raising public awareness for our area of science to a whole new level. As one of the leading centres in the UK for observing the Earth from space, we are very excited to have this opportunity for our students to engage with Chris, particularly as he has inspired so many of us with his vibrant and articulate approach to science education.”
During his visit to the University, Chris, who has recently accepted the position of Professor of Aviation at the University of Waterloo, Canada, met a number of Physics and Astronomy students who shared their research with him through displays and demonstrations. He then took part in a Q&A session at the National Space Centre with school and college students from around Leicestershire.
Chas Bishop, Chief Executive of the National Space Centre added: “We are looking forward to introducing Chris to as many people as we can. Chris’s visit not only gives us the chance to meet the astronaut of the modern age of social media, but will also give us a foretaste of 2015, when our own Major Tim Peake will spend six months on the ISS."
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