In 28+ lessons, the former commander of the International Space Station teaches you the science of space exploration and what the future holds.
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Learn about the past, present, and future of space exploration with astronaut Chris Hadfield.
Download the workbook for lesson recaps, assignments, and photocopies of handwritten notes that Chris took to space.
Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Chris will also answer select student questions.
Meet your instructor: Chris Hadfield, retired astronaut and former Commander of the International Space Station. In his first lesson, Chris reflects on overcoming the impossible to explore outer space.
To become an astronaut, you have to become an expert on everything. Chris outlines the scope of an astronaut's training from leadership skills to survival skills.
Chris explains the functions of the basic parts of a rocket, the physics of launching one beyond the atmosphere, and how rocket design has evolved from mission to mission.
Only a few hundred humans have ever traveled to space. Chris describes in precise detail the emotions an astronaut feels on launch day and the physical feeling of leaving Earth.
Chris breaks down the equation for drag and shows how rockets are designed to overcome the biggest hurdle of launching into space—the atmosphere.
Chris uses familiar situations—like driving a car and jumping off a diving board—to illustrate how the laws of orbital mechanics govern spaceflight and navigation
Chris explains the pros and cons of different types of rocket fuels including liquid fuel, solid fuel, and ionized gas.
"Rockets and spaceflight are dangerous by definition. Learn how astronauts manage their fears and cope with tragedy as Chris had to do after the loss of a friend in the Columbia Space Shuttle mission. "
Learn the virtues and drawbacks of using the capsule model for human transport to space as Chris analyzes the designs of the Apollo, Gemini, Lunar Lander, and Soyuz.
Two-thirds of those who’ve flown to space got there on a Space Shuttle. Chris outlines the design of the Shuttle, the impact of its reusability, and how spacecraft will evolve in the future.
Learn how astronauts use stars, planets, and instruments to understand where their spaceship is, how it’s oriented, and where it’s going.
“It’s kind of like an elephant ballet.” Chris talks you through the process of flying your spaceship to the ISS, docking, and beginning your adventure aboard the laboratory in the sky.
The International Space Station couldn’t have been built without teams coming together from around the world. Chris details the process of constructing the ISS and explains the idea of shared exploration.
Learn about the many systems that work together to keeps astronauts alive aboard the ISS and how those systems are evolving so that we can travel even further in space.
Chris outlines a few experiments currently running on the ISS and explains how astronauts learn to conduct experiments in space on behalf of scientists on Earth.
Chris describes the great honor and responsibility of commanding the ISS, ranks the commander’s priorities, and outlines what it takes to reach and fulfill such an elite and difficult leadership position.
Preparing for space travel means learning massive amounts of information. Learn how Chris used a series of one-page summaries to recall complex systems and concepts on the fly during his time in space.
The first words spoken from the Moon were directed to Mission Control for a reason. Learn how Mission Control functions and why it is so critical to the success of a mission to space.
Chris gives a head-to-toe tour of an EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit), explaining how it keeps astronauts alive while spacewalking and conducting work outside the ship.
Chris outlines the physical and mental challenges of walking in space, describing the important roles played by support teams on Earth and inside the spacecraft during a spacewalk.
Chris describes his personal experience training for spacewalking in an underwater simulation and emphasizes the importance of gaining confidence in maneuvering and monitoring the spacesuit.
What can we learn from looking down at Earth from above? Chris explains what spaceflight means for our human perspective and how we can use what we learn in space to preserve our species and planet.
Chris teaches you the principles behind simulation setup, the mindset you need to learn as much as possible from simulations, and how astronauts prepare for worst-case scenarios.
Chris explains the technical and societal challenges we face in traveling to Mars, including the ideal flight path required, the physics of slowing down and landing, and the risk of human life.
Chris walks through the basic human needs required to live on another planet. Learn what it takes to grow food in space, protect ourselves from the elements, and readjust to gravity.
If we can safely get to Mars, in-situ resource utilization could help us sustain life there. Chris breaks down the vital Sabatier process for creating hydrogen, oxygen, and methane on Mars.
Chris discusses how finding life on Mars could deepen our understanding of the universe and illuminate our place within it. Learn how we’re working with robots to search for life and build an outpost on Mars.
In his parting words, Chris reflects on the cyclical nature of human exploration and Earth’s place in outer space.
Chris tells his personal story of becoming an astronaut and gives advice for achieving your goals—no matter where life takes you.
Amazing insight into the world of space exploration. Chris Hadfield is the perfect teacher, who successfully taught me orbital mechanics!
Chris' message carries surprising parallels to becoming an expert in any field that dares to push boundaries. There is something in this class for everyone.
Elyse TurpinVancouver, Canada
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