Statement by Chris Hadfield, first Canadian Commander of the International Space Station

The ISS is an orbiting research vessel of unprecedented capability, and Canada is in the thick of it. We have experiments inside investigating human physiology and health as well as nano-materials development, while on the outside our robots are learning how to repair and refuel ailing satellites. The iconic Canadarm2 put the Station together, and Canadian astronauts, from Marc Garneau to Julie Payette and Robert Thirsk, have worked inside and out. Everyone in the country can be rightfully proud of Canada's achievements and the inspiration that they bring.

During the past few months our multi-national crew onboard set the all-time record for hours of research performed in space, and the 130 experiments currently on ISS are pushing back the edge of what is possible. Canadian experiments like MicroFlow can bring health care capability to our far-flung communities, and BP Reg and Vascular will help us better understand cardio-vascular health and the effects of aging.

In 2013, the 50th year of Canada in space since the launch of our first satellite Alouette, this Canadian is now asked to command the world's spaceship. It's a first for our country, but is really just the culmination of a lot of other firsts. I stand on the shoulders of so many that have made this possible, and now take my turn to try and add to that solid foundation for the Canadians that follow.

It is vital that tomorrow's generations have the confidence, tools and education, as well as the vision and drive, to continue our exploration and understanding of our place in the world, and our World's place in the rest of the universe.

It is a tremendous honour to assume command of the ISS. I will do my best to acquit myself well, accomplish the utmost as a crew for all the International Partners, and fully live and share the experience on behalf of so many around our world.