Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut who delighted his thousands of social media followers with photos and videos from space, is calling it a day – he is retiring from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to pursue new professional challenges.
The CSA said Hadfield’s resignation is effective 3 July.
Hadfield (53) has spent 21 years as an astronaut. He has been living in Houston, Texas (where US space agency NASA has a space centre) since the 1980s. He revealed he intends to move back to Canada upon his retirement, CBC News reported.
Hadfield, who was raised in southern Ontario, announced his retirement plans on Monday at a press conference at the CSA near Montreal, Quebec.
“I am extremely proud to have shared my experience,” Hadfield said. “I will continue to reinforce the importance of space exploration through public speaking and will continue to visit Canadian schools through the CSA.”
Hadfield also said he hasn’t decided what he will do next, but he plans to deliver presentations on space while reflecting over the next year on his next move.
Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the CSA, paid tribute to Hadfield and his work.
“Chris Hadfield made space exploration history by becoming the first Canadian to command the International Space Station, a feat that instilled pride from coast to coast,” Paradis said in a statement.
“I would like to personally thank Chris for his commitment to bringing the spirit of discovery not only to all Canadians, but to the world.”
Hadfield and his fellow crew members, US astronaut Tom Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, returned to Earth on 13 May in a Soyuz capsule after their five-month stint aboard the International Space Station, where they carried out scientific experiments.