July 2, 2013

University to host astronaut Chris Hadfield for ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show ABOVE Earth’

Retired astronaut will share experiences
Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield’s appearance at the University of Calgary on Saturday, July 6 will be his first public speaking presentation after his successful five-month orbit in the International Space Station.

Chris Hadfield’s public appearance will be his first after his successful five-month orbit.

The Greatest Outdoor Show ABOVE Earth, starring — you guessed it — the one and only space cowboy, will take place Saturday at the University of Calgary. Retired astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield will share experiences and photography from his five-month voyage in orbit, in his first public speaking presentation since leaving the International Space Station.

“We are thrilled that Col. Chris Hadfield will share his spectacular views with Calgarians at our campus. He is an inspiration to many — a true role-model and source of pride for all Canadians,” says Jim Dinning, chancellor of the University of Calgary. “The inspiration from space is alive in our community and at the University of Calgary as we are one of Canada’s leading universities in space research.”

Many of the university’s space science researchers and examples of projects will be showcased at Saturday’s event. Alumna Natalie Panek (BSc ’07), winner of a 2013 Arch Award from the University of Calgary Alumni Association, will share highlights of the campus experiences that helped propel her into a successful career as an aerospace engineer at MDA Space Missions. After Hadfield’s presentation, the audience will be able to ask questions in a discussion moderated by Bob McDonald, host of CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks.

The University of Calgary is active in billions of dollars’ worth of national and international space science projects, with research taking place in multiple faculties, including science, engineering and medicine. New Earth-space technology is one of the University of Calgary’s six multidisciplinary research themes that will guide the university along the road to achieving its Eyes High goal to become one of Canada’s top five research universities, fully engaging in the communities it both serves and leads.

“It’s an honour to be invited to Calgary to take part in the Stampede and share my experiences in space with the community, especially among some of the experts at the University of Calgary that have made space missions like mine possible,” says Hadfield.

“I know it has been an extremely difficult time for many in your city and on your campus. Having lived through floods in Texas — my home was flooded 11 times — I salute Calgarians for their courage and their resiliency.”

Hadfield, the first Canadian to command the International Space Station, was invited by the Calgary Stampede to be its parade marshal. The University of Calgary’s Greatest Outdoor Show ABOVE Earth was originally to take place at Stampede Park, but after the recent flooding, the Stampede asked that the event be held on campus.

The university is asking attendees to bring donations for the Canadian Red Cross Alberta Floods Fund or the campus food bank to help with flood relief efforts. The university is partnering with the Calgary Stampede and Telus Spark, with the support of media sponsors CBC and the Calgary Herald, to present the event. “We were excited when Col. Hadfield accepted our invitation to lead this year’s Stampede parade and we are thrilled to see Col. Hadfield and the University of Calgary leading an educational opportunity for Calgarians,” says Bob Thompson, president and chairman of the board, Calgary Stampede. “Col. Hadfield is an icon and inspiration to many and we look forward to seeing him orbiting downtown on Friday and then hearing about his experiences in space.”