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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
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.

Great course. An interesting subject, well prepared, organised topics. Good way to communicate concepts, ideas and life principles Congratulations

A outstanding class where Chris keeps the view engaged with is wealth of knowledge that is presented in such a way that I want to meet him!

Find multiple layer of satisfaction as you move toward your goals. We have become who we are through all the small accomplishments along the way. Chris, you are a hero to me! Loved your book, and love listening and learning from you. You have shifted me over slightly again to my dreams.

This is a very inteeresting class and i think that chris hadfield is a very good and also interesting person who has managed to complete almost all his goals in life


Griselda L.

Kudos to Chris Hadfield! He studied, he worked hard, and he generously shared so much with us. He's an excellent teacher and motivator. I was moved to tears when I saw how joyous he was when he surfed the aurora borealis.

A fellow student

This was the most inspiring course I've ever taken. Science has never been my primary academic interest but this drew me in in ways that even courses in my college major never did. NASA should send Chris to the moon - there is no one who could better relate the experience to the rest of us.

A fellow student

Did anyone else pump their fist when he told the story of CSA finally calling him at 1:03 asking him if he wanted to be an astronaut? Even though I knew his story, I still got pumped for the call. He is such a good speaker and storyteller. Wish I could have had him as my teacher for my Algebra and Calculus classes, I'm sure I would have done much better.


very inspiring , delightful class !! congrats for this beautiful experience


Espectacular curse !! im grateful to stumble upon your masterclass, Chris you gave me a lot of more inspiration to make my life project Astrogeomanity even more. Thank you Chris Hadfield Daniel Grossman #astrogeomanity

A fellow student

Awesome presenter - great stories - terrific technical information - down to earth and into space!

A fellow student

I've been thinking this the whole time. When I was just a kid, the US went to the moon. And suddenly every kid had a rocket toy, and we all practiced being astronauts in the sand box. Everyone talked about it. It inspired a generation greatly. When we return to the Moon, it is important to the new generation to see what a great thing this is. Kids these days are so disconnected from today's space program. Internet, Video Games, and iPhones are the window that kids look through right now. Space discoveries are just ... meh. I think that it is our responsibility to try and get another generation excited about participating in the space program, just like when I was a young kid.

A fellow student

The whole Chris' masterclass is truly inspiring. He speaks pure wisdom. The format is also beautifully made.

A fellow student

I liked it a lot. I was always interested in space and astronomy. Chris came across as a very good teacher and easy to understand.

A fellow student

I am SO glad that this bonus lesson was included. Thank you, thank you. So much rich wisdom in it.