Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield lands in Chepstow

8:49pm Tuesday 17th December 2013

CANADIAN astronaut Chris Hadfield landed at The Drill Hall Chepstow tonight, on the Welsh leg of his book tour.

In his first book, ‘An Astronaut’s guide to life on Earth’ Commander Hadfield takes readers through his years of training and space exploration with incredible stories and refreshing insights into life and Earth.

The 54-year-old quite literally rocketed to fame after living aboard the International Space Station as Commander of Expedition 35 earlier this year.

From space he tweeted stunning images of earth and videos of life on a space craft including Sleeping in Space and Tears in Space (Don’t fall).

He became somewhat of an online sensation after he posted a video of him performing David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ which has attracted more than 19 million views.

Commander Hadfield took the audience through the experience of a rocket launch. He said: “It’s really just a huge bomb that you’re about to climb into and you hope it explodes in the right direction.”

He landed back on Earth in May after travelling almost 99.8 million kilometres while completing 2,336 orbits of Earth.

“Weightlessness is the coolest thing ever. It’s so much fun,” he said.

“But I’m still growing my hip bone back.”

On his last trip, Commander Hadfield had spent 146 days in space, 144 of which were aboard the station.

The father-of-three, who retired from the CSA in June of this year, said: “The space station is our first home away from home. It’s more than just a laboratory. It’s a better understanding of the planet and of ourselves. From there, you really get a sense of ‘us’. We really are all in this together.”

Commander Hadfield joined the Canadian space Agency in 1992 but had wanted to be an astronaut since he was 9-years-old.

He said: “The most valuable thing you can give a young person is that impossible things can happen. For me it was the chance to go to space.”

Among the 250-strong audience, were 20 students from The Dell Primary school, Chepstow who had to think of a question to ask Commander Hadfield to win a ticket.

“My question was do you have any illnesses in space?” said ten-year-old Alex Jones.

Grace Shakeshaft, 9, wanted to know whether it was cold in space. She said: “When Mr King told us about it we so wanted to meet him.”

Matt Taylor of The Chepstow Bookshop, who organised the event, said: “For years to come, we will remember the night an astronaut came to Chepstow.”

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