Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield says he’s interested in politics but has no immediate plans to make it his next career.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, he was asked whether he might use his newfound fame as a springboard into the political arena.
“I’m as interested in politics as any Canadian, of course. That determines the fate of our country,” Hadfield said Friday in an interview from Houston.
“But for me personally, right now, I have no aspirations at all.”
The three-time space visitor said Friday that there are so many short-term projects on his plate that he hasn’t committed to any long-term plans yet.
Let alone political life.
“It is, by no means, within my stated objectives right now,” said Hadfield, 53.
“The future can hold marvellous portents and we’ll see what comes in the future — but for now, no, not at all.”
Canada’s first, and so-far only, astronaut-turned-politician, said he wouldn’t be surprised if Hadfield followed in his footsteps.
Marc Garneau told the Toronto Star this week that his ex-colleague has “superstar status” and could have his pick of careers. However, Garneau added that he had not spoken to Hadfield since his return.
In the Canadian Press interview, Hadfield said his astronaut schedule — and his life — have been planned right up until the Calgary Stampede in early July, where he will serve as parade marshal.
In the meantime, the guitar-strumming astronaut is just starting to understand the scope of the attention his mission received — with all the tweets, photos, science experiments and, of course, the music video.
Hadfield, whose David Bowie “Space Oddity” cover video has gone viral, said he’s still trying to grasp the fact that 13 million people have already seen it on YouTube.
He said he’s pleased people might have rediscovered space exploration through his mission.
Hadfield noted that he has been mentioned in the Australian parliament and his daughter Kristin, who is living in Ireland, was to receive the Dublin Lord Mayor’s award on his behalf.
But the mission did have at least one moment of heartbreak.
It came courtesy of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who dashed Hadfield’s Stanley Cup dreams just as he was returning to Earth.
Hadfield said that when he landed back on the planet Monday night, he asked his wife two questions. The first was how she was.
The second question was what happened in the Leafs game.
What happened was a spectacular, perhaps-once-in-a-lifetime, collapse in Game 7 of their series against the Boston Bruins, where they dropped a three-goal lead in the final period to lose in overtime.
Hadfield said he was wearing a blue-and-white Leafs T-shirt under his spacesuit when he returned to the surface of the so-called Blue Planet.
“I decided that was the best I could do to show my support for the team,” he said.
Hadfield and two other astronauts, a Russian and an American, were barrelling through the fiery atmosphere in a Soyuz space capsule while the Leafs were playing their do-or-die game.
“When I landed and the Russian search-and-rescue technicians pulled me out, they carried me over, set me down in a chair and then NASA officials hooked me by satellite phone with my wife Helene,” Hadfield said.
“As soon as we checked with each other that we were alive and doing OK, the next question I asked was: ‘How did the Leafs do?“’
That’s when Hadfield’s wife said she was sorry to have to tell him that Toronto went all the way to the end, but unfortunately didn’t win.
“It turns out,” Hadfield quipped, “(that) both of us went down in flames on the same day.”
Ever the diehard Leafs fan, Hadfield added that he’s proud of the way his team played this year and he’s looking forward to next season.
“I am so proud of how the Leafs did this year,” he said. “They played really good hockey, entertaining hockey, motivated and creative hockey.”
Hadfield said he had managed to watch previous games in space. He had even seen the Leafs win Game 6 the day before he undocked from the station.
Hadfield was the first Canadian to command the giant orbiting space laboratory while he was on board.