Mission Control: Mr. Shatner, this is Mission Control Houston. Please call Station for a voice check.
William Shatner: I’m calling. This is Shatner. Can you hear me?
Chris Hadfield: Mr. Shatner, this is the Space Research Vessel ISS in Earth orbit. And yes, I hear you loud and clear. How do you hear me? This is Chris Hadfield.
William Shatner: Chris, I hear you loud and clear. It’s such a pleasure to talk to you. Do you find yourself in the Space Station observing, as a scientist, a part of it, removed from it, or are you able to be – to see the unifying parts of it so that you become at one with the universe?
Chris Hadfield: You never saw it on stage while you were filming, but the view that they used to put for us watching Star Trek of how the world looks out of Sulu and Chekov’s windows there – that’s how the world looks. It’s an enormous, wonderful, rolling Earth below us, but all you have to do is flip yourself upside down, and suddenly the rest of the universe is right there at your feet below you. And that’s where the engineer in me, of course, is very much thinking about the ship and how we got here and the problems and the difficulties, but the human within me recognizes what we are in between. We’ve gone from climbing a hill, getting in an airplane to now actually being right on the cusp of permanently leaving our planet.
William Shatner: It’s inspiring to hear. Let me go back to a moment – you’ve tested many airplanes; you’ve been a test pilot, which is the utmost example of courage in that you’re flying something unknown that you don’t know what characteristics it’s going to have. How do you deal with the fear, which is also applicable to going up into space and returning, which is perhaps even more fearful?
Chris Hadfield: I read somewhere that you always knew your lines whenever you had a job in the acting profession. I am trying to always know my lines, whether it was as a fighter pilot or as an astronaut or as a test pilot. And the way I deal with fear is I try to define what it is that’s scaring me, and what I’m scared most of is not knowing what to do next. You know, to be struck dumb on stage or to be responsible for a vehicle and not know the right actions to take with my hands or with the spaceship. And so, I spent almost my entire adult life making sure that I knew my lines.
William Shatner: You’ve poised that perfectly as an actor who is fearful of the audience, but as long as you practise enough, you learn what to expect. The fear comes from something unexpected happening, like forgetting your words or an audience reaction that’s unexpected. In my case, your face flushes and you get a sheen of flop sweat. In your case, you burn up. It’s a little different.
Chris Hadfield: Yeah, well in both cases, you go down in flames. [Laughter] One’s figurative, and one is not.
William Shatner: It’s a pleasure, Chris. I look forward to meeting you in person.
Chris Hadfield: All right, very nice talking with you. Thanks very much. And all the best.
William Shatner: Thank you; same to you. Bye bye.