Astronaut Chris Hadfield is making one last stop in Longueuil, Que., today before he embarks on a six-month mission that will make him the first Canadian to command a spaceship.
The Milton, Ont., native is set to be launched into space in December aboard a Russian Soyuz shuttle. He will become the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station.
Hadfield, who joined the Canadian Space Agency in 1992, is also the first Canadian to walk in space and the only Canadian to ever board the Mir space station.
At Monday's media event in Longueuil, Hadfield is expected to talk about the mission and his role as commander. He will also discuss a science contest that will bring a winning Canadian classroom's experiment to space.
Two crew members — Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko and American astronaut Tom Marshburn — will join Hadfield on the mission, called Expedition 34/35. Upon arrival, they will greet three residents already on board the ISS. Hadfield will serve as a station flight engineer until the first crew departs in March 2013, when he will take over as commander.
Hadfield and his crew are scheduled to lift off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on Dec. 5.
During his six-month stay aboard the ISS, Hadfield will take at least one spacewalk and will conduct experiments on behalf of Canadian scientists.
He will also use the robotic Canadarm2 to reach out and grab unmanned cargo capsules launched by NASA.