The Canadian Space Agency announced veteran astronaut Chris Hadfield will become the first Canadian to take command of the International Space Station. Hadfield will take command of the station during the second half of a six-month mission that starts at the end of 2012. "To have this opportunity is extremely challenging, extremely exciting for me and extremely rewarding as well," Hadfield told a news conference Thursday at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters in Longueuil, Que. "It's still over two years away. I still have to pass two more of the toughest physicals of anybody on Earth before they'll let me get into that Soyuz and go dock at the space station." Hadfield will travel to the station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in 2012 but the exact date is yet to be determined. "Somewhere around the end of November, early December (2012), we'll launch on our Soyuz, we'll dock, we'll join the three guys that are up there," he told The Canadian Press. It will be the astronaut's third trip to space. He was first selected to become an astronaut in June 1992. Hadfield's shuttle crew will consist of himself, a Russian and an American, and they will join three other astronauts already on the station. He said he was excited to be in a position of responsibility. "The opportunity to spend six months in orbit with people I really like and trust and respect, to do something extremely difficult and do it well, it's a great challenge in life, and something I really look forward to," he said. While many people might be nervous about spending six months in close quarters, Hadfield said he expected to be too busy to notice. "I know at some point the six months will drag, but it will be over before I know it," he said, snapping his fingers. Hadfield's job duties will include using the Canadarm2 to assist the docking procedures of supply shuttles, as well as scientific duties, in the station's various labs. "I'll take over command in March and we will land sometime in late May, early June," he said. He added that there is some recreational time. The station has a Canadian-made guitar aboard, and all of his crew are guitar players. Gary Goodyear, the minister of state for science and technology, made the announcement Thursday morning. "Throughout his career, (Hadfield) has shared his enthusiasm for space with thousands of young Canadians . . . and in December of 2012 he will inspire our nation once again," Goodyear said. "I know he will bring the thrill of space exploration to our homes and our hearts." Hadfield also commanded NEEMO 14, a two-week underwater mission for NASA off of the coast of Florida, this May. Hadfield was born in Sarnia, Ont. and is married with three children. The International Space Station will host NASA's last shuttle mission, scheduled for launch Feb. 26, 2011. The shuttle Endeavour will carry a $2-billion machine to the station to jump-start the search for anti-matter and other phenomena. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer will be attached to the station to collect evidence of antimatter, dark matter and other hard-to-find elements of the universe over the next 20 years.[/p] Source Congrats to Chris Hadfield. I remember watching him on television as a kid!