When Chris Hadfield took command of the International Space Station earlier this week, there was no doubt it was a huge accomplishment for the Canadian. The 54-year-old Ontario native was the first Canuk to have the honor of running the orbiting lab.
He is also the first person living in the British Commonwealth to have this honor, and was sent a special message from the royal monarch.
"I am pleased to transmit my personal best wishes, and those of all Canadians, to Colonel Christopher Hadfield as he takes command of the International Space Station on Wednesday," said Queen Elizabeth in a statement on the British Monarch's website. "Our thoughts and best wishes are with him and the entire crew, as are our prayers for an eventual safe return to family, friends and fellow Canadians."
The British Commonwealth is made up for 54 countries that have kept their English roots after the end of the British Empire.
Hadfield responded via twitter saying "If anything can make one's jaw drop in weightlessness, it is to be honoured by the Queen herself. I am amazed and humbled."
He was also congratulated by many others, as he's only the second non-NASA or Russian to be in charge of the International Space Station. The first was Belgian Frank De Winne in 2009.
"Today, on behalf of all my fellow citizens, I would like to congratulate our very own space pioneer, Chris Hadfield, who is continuing in that fine tradition of pushing the limits by being named the first Canadian to take command of the International Space Station, currently orbiting the planet," said Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper in a statment.
Hadfield took the reigns from NASA astronaut Kevin Ford on Thursday, but the training was not easy. The Canadian Forces fighter pilot went to the Royal Military College in Ontario and received a degree in mechanical engineering. He then was chosen to be one of four new Canadian astronauts in 1992. He has spent the past four years getting ready for this role, and leading up to it he racked up a few other Canadian firsts, including being the first Canadian to float freely in space.
"It is a tremendous honour to assume command of the ISS. I will do my best to acquit myself well, accomplish the utmost as a crew for all the International Partners, and fully live and share the experience on behalf of so many around our world," Hadfield said in a statement.
The one of a kind astronaut is also a musical guy. Hadfieldwith the Barenaked Ladies and a choir to perform the song "I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing)." The musical partnership was brought about by a CBCMusic.ca and the Coalition for Music and Education with the Canadian Space Agency to promote music education in schools.