Chris Hadfield transfers command of the International Space Station today

After nearly 5 months in space, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is passing on the torch of Station Commander today, in preparation for returning to Earth tomorrow.

Commander Hadfield arrived on the International Space Station back on December 21st, along with American astronaut Tom Marshfield and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, and on March 13th he made history, as he became the first Canadian to ever take command of the space station.

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Since his arrival, he has delighted us here on Earth with pictures posted to his Twitter account, and videos on YouTube with him not only speaking to school children and answering their questions, but also giving those of us that won't have a chance to experience being in low-Earth orbit a glimpse into the day-to-day life on the space station.

Although he has been having fun on his job, it hasn't all been playtime. The astronauts have been conducting numerous science experiments, while at the same time keeping the station running smoothly. Also, just over the past few days, they even had an emergency situation that required an impromptu spacewalk by astronauts Chris Cassidy and Tom Marshburn, to fix an ammonia leak in the station's cooling system. If this problem hadn't been fixed, it would have delayed Hadfield's, Marshburn's and Romanenko's departure from the station.

Later today, at 3:40 p.m. EDT, Hadfield's time as commander of the station comes to an end, as he passes the torch to Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov, and he, Marshburn and Romanenko are expected to board a Soyuz spacecraft tomorrow for the return to Earth.

Before he goes, though, he has recorded at least one more video for us, reflecting on his time in space, and what he's looking forward to when he gets back home:

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He's been an endless source of entertainment and an incredible inspiration to us here on the ground, and although his daily photos and insights from space will be missed, his return home is most certainly a well-deserved one.

(Photo courtesy: NASA/CSA)

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