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Science & Tech

Training and Learning: One-Pagers

Chris Hadfield

Lesson time 10:03 min

Preparing for space travel means learning massive amounts of information. Learn how Chris used a series of one-page summaries to recall complex systems and concepts on the fly during his time in space.

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.


When you're on board a spaceship, the amount of information that you need to have ready to dig into is kind of overwhelming. Anything can be happening. You've got all these systems running. You're talking to the mission controls all around the world. You're trying to get the job done. And somehow you've got to keep it all straight in your head. And you might go from speaking to the prime minister of Russia in Russian to reprogramming a computer in a language that you don't know all that well to taking a really complicated picture to running a fluid physics experiment, all within a couple of hours. And how do you keep resetting your brain so that the critical information that you needed during that particular activity is fresh? How do you-- how do you get those things into your head at the time that you need them, especially for the things that have a high impact, you know, where an experiment might fail or it might be life or death or something safety. So a large part of successfully being an astronaut is learning how to manage information, how to learn things, how to keep things in your brain where you need them. For me, the best way to do that is initially just sort of learn the whole thing. Start with, you know, the world, OK, just the whole thing. Let's just start with all the information, all the colors of the rainbow, every bit of information. Let's try and get as much of the big picture as I can. But then let's start whittling it down to the more complicated stuff, pages and pages and pages of notes of the specifics of it all. What does the interface that I'm dealing with look like? Like when you're driving your car down the highway, you know there's an engine and there are wheels and there's a suspension system and brake lines. But what you're really dealing with is the steering wheel and the speedometer and what you see visually around you and the pedal that you're pushing on. That's your interface with all of those complicated systems. And it's the same for anything, really, in life. There's a big complex theory behind it, but how are you interacting with it, and how can you turn the wheel the right way or step on the pedal the right way so that you get done what you want to do? And you can treat every system on a spaceship that way. How do you boil it down to the part that is your interface? And the way I always do that is a one pager. I try and take this great holistic complexity of ideas, all of these multiple textbooks of real specific information, and then look at it through the eyes of the operator of the machine. You can say, I know all that theory is out there, but how am I interfacing with it? When I throw this switch, what does that switch mean to me? When I turn the wheel, what is actually behind that happening? Remind myself of the complexity through a one-page summary of the complex systems. And when you've trained as an astronaut for a decade, what you end up with is a book like this one. And this ...

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.

Chris Hadfield is an incredible educator and storyteller. This is my favorite MasterClass of all time!

Grateful and motivated to pursue dreams beyond what's possible now. Knowing that I may not live to see even completion of a part of it. Thanks Chris!

Anything is possible and we are purpose driven people. Thank you for inspiring me to move mountains, and explore uncharted space within.

This class help me realize that life is long! You need to know what you want to do and where you want to go. Then it's easier to find your path and decide what to do next. "Your life is not the grandiose statements, it’s just the sum total of all the things you chose to do." Chris is a true inspiration!!!


Bernardo F.

That has helped me a lot with languages, both learning and teaching them. Maybe I didn't give it that name, but I had a sort of infograph with all the information I needed, structures, examples, exceptions. And something cool is that they were better every course, as I heard a new question, or someone didn't understand it that way, or we moved to a higher level... I don't have them on paper, they're on my CPU, but hell they're helpful.

Shelly F.

Wow, amazing summarization for the pistol grip tool. I know I would be carrying a suitcase of knowledge if I had to go to space.

Liz F.

Great lesson. I took his advice and started to plan how to create a "Crew Notebook" for the people who work for me. Sometimes they forget to complete a task. If I create a 1 page notebook and use their insight, then we can make sure they complete everything and they will feel like they had a part in it.


Really great advice. I love it when I am rolling out a new software system and there are some that ask good questions and always take notes. What does that mean? It means that they are interested in being responsible! They are telling me that they are invested in solving problems when they come up. And not blaming others when new software releases ultimately have hiccups in the production environment; because they will. He is teaching responsibility.


Great lesson! His notes are so neat and nicely hand written! Pages fall out, any other person would say "opps, clumsy of me" or some profanity. But Chris Hadfield, its "Gravity". A very professional and accurate reply. I'm going to use that one next time! =)

William D.

And the point of this lesson was??? Everyone learns differently. What works for Chris does not necessarily work for another person. What was the training regime like? Classroom? Self Study? Computer Based? Simulation? It would be nice to know. Also what was the time line allowed? One Month, Two Months or more?

A fellow student

The most useful tip for daily life I've leart so far. I loved the gravity comment!

Sam L.

Made me wonder, how does someone who train for a 1 year mission keep everything in their head, how do you train someone for a 1 year mission?

Maddie W.

Another very useful lesson which applies to the space station and life back on Earth. I've also found this to be the most effective way to study for my finals and other big assignments. It really focuses your mind and stops you from panicking when you try to remember the overwhelming amount of information that is required in high-pressure scenarios. It's a good way to live your life; you are always learning new things so think like a student and take notes! (Also loved the gravity comment; just another one of those annoying Earth nuisances, I guess XD)

Chengzhi W.

Oh my god! This is the best and most practical lecture from the whole course !! I love it !!!