Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is set to make history in space.
Hadfield will blast off this Wednesday (Dec. 19) in a Soyuz capsule for a six month mission on the International Space Station.
During that time, in March, he'll become commander of the station - a first for any Canadian.
"For me, it is just surreal," Hadfield said in a recent interview from Star City, Russia, where he spent several weeks training.
"As an astronaut, it's a pinnacle," he said. "It is the highest level of responsibility of an astronaut to command a spaceship because of course, the lives of the ... people on board are my responsibility."
Hadfield, 53, grew up dreaming of being an astronaut - inspired by Neil Armstrong, the first astronaut on the moon.
Eventually, he became a Canadian Forces fighter pilot and got a degree in mechanical engineering.
20 years ago, he was chosen to become one of four new Canadian astronauts. Since then, he's been part of two NASA space shuttle missions and was the first Canadian to operate the Canadarm in orbit.
He's also done two spacewalks, and was the first Canadian to float freely in space. For this new mission, he's spent four years training.
"We really need to pay attention to the core of what's happening and that is on the afternoon of the 19th of December, to be able to walk out to the spaceship, healthy, well rested and with everything in order in our lives so that we can be absolutely ready to handle whatever goes on for the next six months," he says.
Hadfield is also an avid guitar player, and plans on playing, recording and writing some songs while he's in orbit.
Plus, he's teaming up with Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies to write a song called I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing) and perform it together on CBCMusic.ca in February of next year.
Hadfield will play on the space station, while Robertson and the Barenaked Ladies play on earth with a high school choir.
Here they are in studio at CBC going through the song.
The performance will premiere on CBCMusic.ca, CBC-TV and CBC Radio on February 8, 2013, so students across the country can learn the song in time for Music Monday on May 6, 2013.
Music Monday is on the first Monday in May each year. Hundreds of thousands of students and teachers take their music programs into their communities, and perform the same song at the same time.
Tomorrow, in honour of Hadfield's career, The National is airing a special documentary about his life and the training he goes through.
Hadfield also recently took questions on Reddit in the 'Ask Me Anything format. You can check that out here.
Two other men will be blasting off with Hadfield - NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko. Both of them are avid guitar players as well.
Mashburn is classically trained, while Romanenko played with U2 when they visited Moscow a couple of years ago.