From Chris Hadfield's MasterClass

Rockets: What It Feels Like to Launch

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.

Topics include: How Rockets Work


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.

Topics include: How Rockets Work

Chris Hadfield

Teaches Space Exploration

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SPEAKER: Chris Hadfield, a member of the Canadian Space Agency, and one of our space walkers on this flight. It's time to go to space. It's an incredible morning to wake up when you know that this is the day that you're leaving Earth. This is the day that you've been dreaming about, where you are going to go out and climb into a rocket, and blast off the planet. And by the end of the day, you are going to be effortlessly, weightlessly orbiting the world. It's a day that you don't take lightly. It's a day that you've prepared for intensively your whole life. You wake up-- my first flight was at the Kennedy Space Center. You're in this quarantine facility. You've been in quarantine for a week so that you don't catch a cold and so you can really gather and organize your thoughts and be ready to go. They start building the space suit around your body. It's a complicated protective pressure suit. So you have to wear all the right non-flammable undergarments. And then you go into the suit-up room. The technicians are quiet and respectful and competent in getting you properly dressed-- this enormous zipper that goes up your back like some big body bag zipper. It's just kind of bizarre. They check the pressure of your suit, make sure all the communications are working. You're sort of laughing and telling jokes with the other crew members. You know, you're in the final stages of doing something very demanding but that you've tried to be as ready for as any human being could be. You come out of the suit-up room, you ride down in the elevator, and then you walk out to get into the van. And that's the moment everybody sees you, where there's all the flashing lights and some people have got the right pass. They come in and see the astronaut walk out. And they even tell us how to wave. You practice waving so that you don't block your face. You'll notice there that all the astronauts are waving down low so that their hand doesn't block, inadvertently, the camera's view of somebody else's face in those pictures. We even worry about the walk out. That's how much training we do. You go over, you get into the van that takes us out to the launch pad. Predictably enough, it's called the Astro Van. And the van comes out of the quarantine facility and starts the multi-mile drive out to where the spaceship is there waiting for you. And it's pretty amazing to come around that corner at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and in the distance, you see your spaceship. And that's how you feel about it. It's not "a" spaceship, but this is your spaceship. It's waiting for you and your crew to get on board. And often, it's still predawn because if we can, we like the nice still, calm air that's in the morning, as opposed to the violent, stormy Florida air in the afternoon. And so the space ship is even dramatically lit. It's got these huge xenon lights. It almost looks like some great iconic obelisk that we've artistically lit just for maximum art...

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.

I learned what I am going to do to become an astronaut. I have learned what Chris had to do to become and complete his dream, and from this masterclass, now I can too.

Fantastic classes! Thank you Col. Chris Hadfield for taking the time to share with us! God Bless.

Very insightful into space exploration and the mechanics. Chris is a great speaker and with great experiences. Never gonna get this any where online!

Great, Chris is great, learnt so much. Just could be a much more interactive environment, more ways of testing knowledge, better ways to network and ways to connect us into different parts of the space business. Turn this into a course that is credited and gets you a general knowledge qualification. There is so much more that can be done to improve this.


Philip C.

This is a terrific lesson. What better way to learn about it than from Chris, a former elite astronaut who possesses the very rare gift, through words, of transferring the actual launch experience to the six senses and emotions of the earthbound masses.

Alexander V.

Incredible lesson. Precise detail and an exhilarating experience. Truly memorable.

Jim C.

I was enthralled the entire time he was describing this. My chest got a little tight, my breathing slowed. I thought of The Challenger. Also as a Firefly Browncoat, the leaf analogy was a bit disturbing.

Marie H.

Such a great class! I feel like I am actually going through the experience just the way Mr. Hadfield is describing it! I am trying to take notes at the same time so I am not just listening to the experience but also noting significant points or things I am not understanding.

Ian K.

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Sergio N A.

Sergio Andres Jr. Pretty exciting really . Im the one who wrote that post beginning with ...Perfect, I have should go to Cape Canaveral Tourist Complex and you will experience the same....

Sergio N A.

Perfect. I have almost the same feelings of excitement and fear. When you accelerate to 17,000mph from 0 you feel the pressure going againsts your whole body pressed on your back seat with rising pain from your sacrum going up to your spine and neck up to your jaws then all of a sudden they disappear once you reach microgravity environment of space. All the shaking is gone. You began to feel released and seemed floating . Well that was an experience I had in Cape Kennedy in 2016 When i went aboard a " Shuttle lunch simulator"... Thanks to the experience....

Terry B.

I've seen action movies that were less exciting that Chris' description of liftoff!

Jim N.

Chris tells his experience so well that you almost feel that you're in the spacecraft sitting next to him.

A fellow student

Great series. Chris does a great job communicating his experiences in the space program.