Science & Technology

Bonus Chapter: Chris's Journey

Chris Hadfield

Lesson time 24:01 min

Chris tells his personal story of becoming an astronaut and gives advice for achieving your goals—no matter where life takes you.

Chris Hadfield
Teaches Space Exploration
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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I was originally inspired by science fiction. Reading Asimov and reading Arthur C. Clarke, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and some of the great science fiction authors, they revealed a world that didn't exist yet. They sort of gave me as a young person the permission to imagine something that hadn't happened yet. They gave me the permission to imagine myself as someone that I hadn't yet turned myself into. And I think that's really important growing up, to give yourself room to imagine things that haven't happened yet. But I was also lucky that it wasn't all just fantasy. At the same time that I was reading all of those science fiction books, people for the very first time were starting to fly in space. With Gagarin in 1961, and then-- and then the race to the moon all culminating in the summer of '69. And just about the time that I was becoming aware of the world at nine years old, that's when Apollo 11 happened and this combination of fantasy and reality suddenly came together for this little kid living in Canada. And that's-- that's very much not only where the idea formed, but where I could resolve myself maybe to thinking that I could do that-- it wasn't just a fantasy, but if Neil and Buzz could walk on the moon-- and this had all happened just in my lifetime, then maybe I could do something like that as well. The combination of fantasy and reality gave me permission to start changing who I was. When I decided to turn myself into an astronaut, it wasn't hard, it was impossible, by definition. There were no Canadian astronauts, there was no Canadian Space Agency. There was no way from where I was to what I was dreaming of doing. But I looked at the fact that it used to be impossible to fly in space at all, and it sure was impossible to walk on the moon, and yet those things had happened. So even though it was currently impossible, what I learned from Apollo 11 was that things change, and that impossible things happen. That's a really important lesson to learn no matter what stage of life you're at, but especially at nine or 10 years old, impossible things happen. And I don't just mean like, you know, lottery tickets and lightning strikes, but I just reminded myself, well, when I was born, no one had ever flown in space, this is still a new thing. And when Neil Armstrong was born, the word astronaut didn't even exist. So things change. So let's be patient, and let's just start working on who I am. The choices that I made to become an astronaut were to go to university to study mechanical engineering, and then plan to go on to do a master's degree. Take every opportunity that ever comes. If there's a chance to ever get someone else to pay for your education, take them up on it. If someone is willing to teach you something, especially for free, get them to. Information and knowledge is just freedom to choose things. The more you know, the more free you are to make an informed choice in your life. So never miss an opportunity ...

Explore the unknown

Impossible things happen. At age nine, Chris Hadfield knew he wanted to go to space. He eventually went there three times, becoming a commander of the International Space Station. In his MasterClass, Chris teaches you what it takes to explore space and what the future holds for humans in the final frontier. Learn about the science of space travel, life as an astronaut, and how flying in space will forever change the way you think about living on Earth.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

a very inspiring class with not only the space exploration knowledge but also self exploration, how you define yourself, who you wanna be, what you need to do to make your dream come true...

Simply and absolutely, Chris taught me how to live a more complete life, something entirely unexpected but invaluable.

I loved this class so much. I am going to rewatch most of it.

This is a great class! I had an amazing time watching each lesson.


Joseph S.

Amazing and brilliant!! I really enjoyed all of the wonderful detailed explanations of rockets, shuttles, history of space travel, the complexity and skill required in training, space walks, the ISS, views from the shuttle and the future of space travel all explained in a way anyone can understand! Thank you so much Chris. Definitely one of my top favorite MasterClasses and I’d definitely be around to watch the next one!

Vincenzo C.

This entire course is full of invaluable insights that I will be carrying along with me moving forward. This has been a truly inspiring experience, and for that I sincerely want to thank Mr. Hadfield.

Jules W.

As a massive space fan, I've loved this entire course. But this bonus chapter struck a cord with me - and had given me some genuine life lessons that I think will make a difference.

Randy M.

My favorite part is Chris reflecting upon himself. I deeply enjoyed his talk about having a goal and using that goal to direct all your many small decisions. He makes it clear to enjoy all your many small successes, whether others understand or appreciate them or not, and to enjoy the journey. Live your life to its fullest.

A fellow student

Chapter 29 is the commencement address I wish I had heard 48 years ago as a young high school graduate trying to figure out “what to do next “. I never really figured it out or made a plan and so went wherever the breeze of life blew me. Chris, if I can invite you to speak at my grandson’s graduation next year please tell me how to do that.

Hassan S.

This was a wonderful class. I am deeply grateful to Chris and the MasterClass team for making it available. It contains some of the ingredients that make us real human beings at our best. Thank you.

Angela K.

Remarkable class. Thank you for taking the time and for sharing your knowledge with us. This was one of the best classes I have ever taken in my life.

A fellow student

There’s only time to learn, enjoy and love! Thank you Hadfield! This is the best class about engineering, space and life ever!

Jose M.

In the context of demanding engineering and science, Astronaut Chris Hadfield introduces his audience to his environment, describes his process and the development of his challenges from both technical and personal perspectives. This is paramount since I think is very inspiring for those who may be struggling to succeed on their degrees or are simply ambitious and seeking to better themselves. Mr. Hadfield brings a "soft" -human- factor to his scientific story telling by reflecting on his personal thoughts, which allows the audience to connect at several levels. nowadays, I believe that no professor can nor should afford to turn down students, now more than ever mentors are needed not only to educate but to inspire and motivate as many as possible. Mr. Hadfield's style is a fair standard of reference no how to connect with the audience without sacrificing on the scientific rigor of education.

Lauren C.

Incredible. Thank you so much for inspiring us all. I just can’t believe we have such amazing material available let alone that material presented by someone of your candor. This is a class that makes me truly appreciate the age we live in. Thank you so very much for your time and knowledge.