Astronaut Chris Hadfield on Standby for the next Soyuz Launch

Longueuil, Quebec, July 9, 2012 – Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Chris Hadfield is currently the backup for NASA astronaut Sunita Williams who is scheduled to take off for the International Space Station on a Soyuz spacecraft on July 15, 2012. As such, he has passed all the final qualifications leading up to the launch and is on standby this week.

If something should prevent astronaut Williams from launching, Hadfield would replace her. This means he would embark on a four-month mission as crewmember of Expedition 32/33 – including a stint as commander of the Station. As the launch approaches, Hadfield is participating in pre-launch activities alongside Williams. These include, but are not limited to, crew fit checks, traditional events, the roll out of the Soyuz and a crew news conference.

"Although it is very rare for a backup astronaut to be called to action," says Chris Hadfield, "Backup plans are absolutely critical to the success of space missions".

Once Expedition 32/33 takes off successfully with Williams aboard, Hadfield will continue to prepare for his forthcoming launch to the International Space Station (ISS) in December 2012 as part of the crew of Expedition 34/35.

For more information on Expedition 32/33 crew preparations:

  • Video files of some activities will be available on NASA TV. Please see the NASA TV schedule for more information and timing.
  • The Soyuz Spacecraft

For more information on Hadfield's mission, Expedition 34/35:

For B-roll footage of Hadfield and Expedition 34/35, access our FTP site.

- 30 -

For more information:

Canadian Space Agency
Media Relations Office
Telephone: 450-926-4370
E-mail:
Website: www.asc-csa.gc.ca