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.

It is amazing to hear personal stories from someone that has lead such an interesting life.

THANK YOU CHRIS for doing this so we can all hear how its is like talking to you at a table. Thank you master class!!!!!!vfgdnmcgmg

This was a very inspiring class. I am never going to explore space but I learned a lot of interesting things that made me think differently as well as inspired me just a bit more to follow my own passions.

Chris Hadfield is pure inspiration. His wise words have helped give structure and substance to everything I want to do. This is a class I will definitely revisit. Thank you!


Daniel P.

Incredible course to have completed. I tip my hat to Chris for his insight, knowledge, and maturity in presenting this course. I am most thankful for the privilege of study it here.

A fellow student

Absolute brilliant. So sad to see the end of this one! My huge compliments to Chris and the team that put this together!

Tiffany C.

Chris Hadfield has a tremendous gift for teaching. He’s down to earth and able to reflect ongoing wonder about science and space that is infectious. So far, this is the best of the Master Classes I’ve watched.

Miguel R.

The last lesson was the most inspiring and a good talk on achieving your own dreams. The whole course was absolutely fascinating. It made me appreciate the virtual reality ISS Experience on my Oculus Quest headset. It was incredible to hear the lessons and then "board" the ISS and explore it.


This was an excellent journey to take, as a retired aerospace engineer, supporting Shuttle Operations from 1980 - 1996, at locations in Guam, Dakar & in Houston, TX.

Sergio N A.

i was almost like you Chris, our differences is that I was born in poor country like the Philippines where education like that of aerospace science is not offered until today. When I was 11 years old until about 16 years old my second school in the USIS Library in Davao city, Philippines where aerospace science books are available and I have read almost all available books. I followed the Mercury Project, Gemini, Apollo and the Shuttle missions and today the ISS, of course the Russians and currently the Chinese. In fact in 2013 I founded the Philippine Academy on Aerospace Medicine and Biomedical Engineering but it did not live long because we don't have the membership to make it viable. To date I'm the only Filipino member of the National Space Society (USA). Thanks a lot I'm honored to met you on-line...

Roy L.

This has been a staggering and inspiring journey into what it represents the explorer nature of humans!! I feel deeply thankful to Chris for sharing some of his experiences and knowledge about space exploration. I am also thankful to the creators of the master class series. R L G

Paty S.

So far this is the best MasterClass I have taken!! It is so inspiring, beautiful and amazing! Chris has the ability to transmit his passion and knowledge in a very entertaining and pleasant way! Thank you Chris!!

Satish G.

Just finished this class. Thank you @Cmdr_Hadfield for sharing your passion, experience, enthusiasm with us.

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!