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Chris Hadfield - Today is a brave new day

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield spent his first official day of retirement showing off his new pair of boots.

"I had these specially made for the Stampede and it's the mission patch that was made for the Canadian Space Agency and on the back we had them inlay a Maple Leaf," Hadfield said as he held up a cowboy boot in preparation for playing marshal for the Calgary Stampede parade on Friday.

"The thing I think is coolest is it's alligator and it still flexes with the alligator hide. I'm like a six-year-old boy. I think that's pretty cool."

Hadfield greeted his Twitter followers earlier Thursday.

"Good morning, from the 1st day of my retirement. Headed to Calgary for the Stampede, booted, looking forward to seeing everyone there."

Hadfield announced his retirement last month and his intention to move back to Canada following a 21-year career as an astronaut that was mostly spent in the U.S.

Hadfield spent five months on the International Space Station where he thrilled those on earth with pictures, videos, songs and a stream of tweets.

He became the first Canadian commander of the space station and he performed more than 130 science experiments and made numerous virtual visits to classrooms across the country.

It was Hadfield's third space flight. He was the only Canadian to visit the Russian space station Mir in 1995, and the first Canadian to perform a spacewalk when he installed Canadarm 2 in 2001.

He woke up Thursday and realized he was done.

"It felt weird. I was signed on with the Armed Forces when I was 18 years old. It's a responsibility. It's a life of service," he said.

"It's putting somebody else's needs ahead of your own for your entire career. Serving as an astronaut has been the same thing. I've worked for the Canadian government since I was 18. I'm going to turn 54 this summer so it's been 35 years. My wife and I have served all around the world."

Hadfield said he and his wife will live in Toronto

He said he is beginning to realize things will be a lot different now.

"It's almost as if you've been knowing a whole area for a long time and then suddenly you start walking down a path that you've never been down before.

"Even though it's a path and it's where you used to live, suddenly things look a little different and I've just started going down that path right now," Hadfield said.

"I'm a new guy at this and it's going to be interesting to see how it all turns out," he said with a smile.

"It's all part of the same continuum, but today is a brave new day."

The Canadian Press


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