Canada welcomes back astronaut Chris Hadfield

After spending nearly five months on board the International Space Station, making history as the first Canadian to take command of the orbiting science laboratory and dedicating nearly every spare waking moment to promoting the space program on social media, Chris Hadfield returned to Earth on May 13th, but his journey wasn't over then.

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As of Saturday evening, after nearly a month of recovery in the United States, Chris Hadfield is finally back home, and was so warmly welcomed by all that he turned to, where else, but Twitter to express his feelings:

Even though he's home now, his work isn't over yet, of course. According to CTV News, this morning, Hadfield is meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, and he'll also be at a press conference in Ottawa this afternoon.

Some highlights of Chris Hadfield's time in space include posting an incredible assortment of photographs on Twitter showing off the enviable view of Earth that the astronauts and cosmonauts enjoy from orbit, numerous videos on YouTube revealing what life is like on board the space station, participated in a sing-along from space, and even recorded a music video cover of David Bowie's Space Oddity shortly before his return to Earth. He exchanged tweets with other famous 'space travelers' such as William Shatner, Leonard Nemoy and George Takei, and maybe even more importantly, he engaged the public and inspired people around the world to take a greater interest in the space program.

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Although, for the most part, he's been out of the limelight during the first part of his recovery, Hadfield will be returning to the stage in a special performance on Parliament Hill on Canada Day, and then as Parade Marshall of this year's Calgary Stampede. What's next for him after that?

Undoubtedly he'll still be a tireless promoter of human space exploration, and of Canadian participation in space exploration in particular. Whether he'll do that simply by going on a cross-country tour to speak to school children, or by going on that tour as the new head of the Canadian Space Agency, is anyone's guess at this moment. For now, though, let's just enjoy having our space celebrity back home.

(Photo courtesy: Pool/Reuters)

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