Astronaut Chris Hadfield Wednesday became the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station. As Chris Hadfield took the responsibility for the station from the outgoing chief, Kevin Ford, Canadians started pouring in with letters of felicitations.
"Ever since this country was founded, Canadians have been pushing the boundaries of exploration and discovery, contributing in substantial ways to collective global knowledge. Today, on behalf of all my fellow citizens, I would like to congratulate our very own space pioneer, Chris Hadfield, who is continuing in that fine tradition of pushing the limits by being named the first Canadian to take command of the International Space Station, currently orbiting the planet," said the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a statement Wednesday.
"His pursuit of excellence in his field and his achievements in space are a tremendous source of national pride and can most aptly be described as stellar," he added.
Queen Elizabeth II, who is the head of state for 16 sovereign states including Canada, also wished the Canadian astronaut for being in charge of the International Space Station.
"Our thoughts and best wishes are with him and the entire crew, as are our prayers for an eventual safe return to family, friends and fellow Canadians," said the queen in a statement.
While receiving the post, Chris Hadfield acknowledged the offer calling it an 'honor' and 'privilege' for him.
"It's a huge honour and a privilege for me...but also [for] all my co-workers at the Canadian Space Agency and my entire country," said Chris Hadfield.
Passing the post to the new commander, outgoing commander Kevin Ford said that Chris would not only be the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station but also the first commander who is neither from the NASA nor Russian Federal Space Agency.
"We're very proud of Chris. We're very proud of Canada as our partner in this International Space Station," said Ford while playing the Canadian national anthem.
"Canada has made a great contribution, just like so many of the other [international] partners have," he added.
Kevin Ford would be returning to earth from the International Space Station Thursday.
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