From Chris Hadfield's MasterClass

Bonus Chapter: Chris's Journey

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

Topics include: Chris's Journey


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

Topics include: Chris's Journey

Chris Hadfield

Teaches Space Exploration

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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.

Well balanced technical information and general knowledge. Love it!

I was dream to be an astronaut . But right now in my 20s I don't think I could be one. This class has bring back my old dream and give me so much live lessons and new perspective. I really love this class.

i have learnt how to persue and look at where you want to be.

I have been really impressed with the calibre of the lessons in this class. Chris has really helped to inform me about how astronauts get to space, while simultaneously forcing me to ask myself even more questions about the future of space exploration.


Ugo A. D.

If God was my pilot, then Chris you would make a damn good co-pilot. Good Stuff, thoroughly enjoyed the sessions. Will go back and review them for my own interest. As a recently retired engineer looking for some challenge, I'll take in your words advice and continue to set goals. it's the journey that makes the destination interesting and worthwhile. Thanks again.

Marie H.

This has been the best class I have probably ever taken in my lifetime. It is a class I could not even have predicted I could take. I just signed up because I had such a great experience visiting an air and space museum in Virginia and wanted to learn more about how someone actually becomes an astronaut. I also have a great interest in physics and wanted to see how that applied as an astronaut. I am just a beginning student in this whole area but all that I have so far learned and what Mr. Hadfield has shared has really opened my thinking as to what I could learn more about and direct my goals towards.


Wonderful lesson and wonderful Masterclass. Thank you very much, Mr. Hadfield!

Samir S.

Absolutely incredible!!! This Masterclass has changed not only my perspective of the world but the steps in which I want to take to becoming an astronaut. I thank you greatly Chris, I will continue to find new tools in the near future to further my understanding of what it really means to be a space-ling.

A fellow student

This course was extremely interesting, explained in a very interesting and clear to understand to someone who is not a pilot or astronaut but only interested and fascinated with space exploration . Thank you Chris Hadfield for a beautiful teaching!

A fellow student

This is more than just a class. It's a way to the future for me and my family!

A fellow student

The Space Exploration course was not only extremely interesting but was also explained so clearly by Chriss Hadfield that it made it possible even for me (with zero knowledge on the subject) to follow it. Absolutely fascinating. Chris Hadfield has a real unique gift in sharing knowledge with clarity and passion, and if more schools and universities had such teachers, future generations would benefit. French Nicolas Boileau said “Ce que l’on conçoit bien s’énonce clairement, et les mots pour le dire arrivent aisément” (what is conceived well is expressed clearly, and the words to say it come easily) which is Chriss Hatfield’s case. My favourite MasterClass to date. Opens such horizons! Thank you for sharing so much knowledge and life values!

Pedro C.

My journey along Space Exploration, listening Chris Hadfield sharing his experiences, dreams, and learning, have been inspiring and challenging. This inspiration will work as a refueling for making true some of my own dreams!!! Bravo Zulu Chris!!! Bravo Zulu Colleagues!!! Bravo Zulu Myself!!!

Adrian R.

I grew up watching the various phases of space flight since JFK announced the goal of safely sending an American to the moon in 1961. 50+ years later I’m re-engaging with the Space Station, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin. This was an awesome MasterClass which was delivered by Chris in an exceptionally clear and interesting manner. A great communicator of an occasionally mind-bending subject.

Clifton P.

Since I was a young boy, sitting in the field in front of the house with my dogs, and looking up at the stars, I have dreamed about someday taking part in journeying the unknowns of the universe. I saw this MasterClass in an advertisement on youtube, and I knew that it was something that I had to take part in. To learn knowledge about the journey that is humanity's exploration of space directly from an astronaut was truly inspiring. I have worn many hats throughout my life; and throughout this lesson, to be told that there is no one way to do anything in order to achieve a goal and feel accomplished, was the greatest lesson of all, and pushes me to pursue my dreams that much more. Life may be full of hurdles and challenges that seem like, or actually are in this case, rocket science. Just like rockets, though, we can start on the ground, learning one thing at a time and piecing it all together, until we are finally able to send ourselves to new heights. This MasterClass is that launchpad, and Major Tom, the countdown starts...