Chapter 4 of 29 from Chris Hadfield

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

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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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.

Learn about the past, present, and future of space exploration with astronaut Chris Hadfield.

Download the workbook for lesson recaps, assignments, and photocopies of handwritten notes that Chris took to space.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Chris will also answer select student questions.


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

An amazing insight into a profession that we always hear about, but really know nothing

Wow! Great Class. Makes me want to do my best, and do great things!!

Thanks Chris and Masterclasses, these lessons were a real treat. I learned the key equations for lift off and also the key ingredients for envisioning a better life.

I love how chris was able to explain ‘Rocket Science’ in layman terms for someone like me who has a fascination for Space but never thought i would understand it.... So Big Thanks Chris for your Gift..... chris mabee xoxoxoxo


Alberto M.

it was really interesting i liked it a lot cause i wanna go up to space in the future .so i imagined myself in the ride like i dont think i blinked for the whole lesson.

Suzanne T.

Listening to this makes me so emotional. Every rocket launch I watch I always end up in tears. It’s such an enormous feat, courage, excitement, nerves, fears, wishes, dreams, all wrapped up in that rocket

Harry S.

Absolutely incredible description of the ride. I was filled with a deep sense of pride while watching this.

Charles K.

I watched STS 125 launch from Banana Creek...most incredible experience of my life to be there with astronauts and NASA folks sitting around us. I could actually feel the vibrations and sound waves as they crossed Banana Creek. Can't really imagine the feeling of the ride!!

Ric A.

Reading it in your book, Listening to you explain it and emotion to it fills in the flavor of what it actually feels like. Very cool

Peter B.

I’ve never heard an astronaut talk about the emotional as well as the technical ride. Well done.

Bill M.

I remember being let out of class and we would all gather around a tv in the gym/lunchroom and watch the Apollo missions. Captivated fro the first look.

Steve M.

I have watched hundreds of videos of shuttle and other rocket launches and even video doesn't convey the power, the vibration, the sense of having a very large someone sitting on your chest for the best part of 8 minutes. Hadfield accomplishes with words what video fails to convey.

Dr C.

Why the “roll program” immediately after blast off.....can you not have it aligned towards space station on launch pad?

Dr C.

How do I watch a lesson twice? I click on “view all lessons” but it won’t permit me or give me time to click on lesson I want to watch. No back icon. I will be disappointed if I can’t replay a segment. I also did not start with lesson 1 so would like to go back to watch them for first time.


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...