Chris Hadfield: Houston and Moskva, and all of the control centres around the world, from the crew here on board the International Space Station, after having served through Expedition 35, it is time to hand over the command of the spaceship to the Expedition 36 crew.
When originally thinking about the responsibility of command, I had three objectives. Number one was the health of the crew – to maintain a healthy group of people here on board. My second was the health of the spaceship itself – to spend our months here and, at the end of it, to be able to provide the next crew – the oncoming astronauts and cosmonauts – with a functioning and healthy spaceship. And third was to use this international orbiting laboratory, this orbiting research vessel, for what it’s for. And that was to get as much science and utilization done as possible.
I can very proudly say that all three have been accomplished in space. The crew is healthy and happy, and I think any of us would come back, given the opportunity. The spaceship is in good shape, and I’ll talk about that in a minute. And, on the science side, because of a tremendous amount of work on board but a much larger amount of work in all of the control centres and universities and businesses around the world that are using the International Space Station. We set a record for utilization – the amount of time that is spent and the amount of research done in our tenure here on board as Expedition 35.
But for me, it really all came together in the last three days. Pavel came to me – Pavel Vladimirovich Vinogradov came to me three days ago and said, “Chris, I see something out the window. It looks like little sparks or little fireworks.” And we went over to the window and looked and saw that the Space Station was leaking something out to space. And had a good look at it, realized that something had gotten worse, talked to Houston. They looked deeply into their data and saw that we in fact had an ammonia leak – a very serious problem. And in an unprecedented display of competence and confidence on the ground, put together a plan for Chris and Tom to go outside in – gosh, in a record amount of time. In a day and a half, they were outside.
And the real-time execution of that was what just felt so good to me as commander of this crew. To have Pavel in there helping me [inaudible]; to have Chris and Tom so ready, even on short notice, to go outside and do something that has a high level of danger and extremely complex; Sasha was helping… learning the OJT of how an American EVA looks after having participated in the Russian EVA earlier, helping those guys get out. And then Roman meanwhile, we have a Soyuz undocking tomorrow! And meanwhile, Roman is getting that spaceship ready. All that going on simultaneously so that we could go outside successfully, execute an EVA and, in fact, as indications are right now, stop the leak and leave the spaceship even healthier than it was.
So for me, my initial objectives, my dreams for how this might go, and the realization of what this crew can do together as a group of six men from all around the planet – but what all of those control centres all around the planet can do. For me, this was just a personification of what the International Space Station is and what the people mean to it. This is a human research vessel. We’ve shared it with millions of people around the world, and we’ve done our absolute best to accomplish the work on board.
And, with that, I would like to pass the microphone to Pavel to say a few words and then [speaks Russian] I will give control of the Space Station to Pavel. [speaks Russian]
Interpreter: Maybe a few words, if you will.
Pavel Vinogradov: [speaks Russian]
Interpreter: We really had a wonderful crew, 35 Increment crew. It is a sad day today to realize that the crew actually is divided into two – 35 and 36 Increment. The guys are wonderful. You know, we work together so well. Each of them can substitute for another and it’s the strength of our crew in it. Until now it was one unified crew. This is the most important thing. I think we will miss you badly, guys.
Chris Hadfield: [speaks Russian]
Interpreter: Same here, same here. Thank you, Pavel.
Chris Hadfield: So, from this young Canadian kid’s dreams to be realized to command a spaceship, on behalf of everybody at the Canadian Space Agency and the International Space Station program that trusted us to do our job right, [speaks Russian]. And so I pass command of the International Space Station to Pavel Vladimirovich Vinogradov. Congratulations.
Pavel Vinogradov: [speaks Russian]
Interpreter: Thank you. I accept the command of the Station. We will look after it as much and as carefully as all the predecessors and the previous crew. And we wish you good luck to our guys tomorrow. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Chris Hadfield: You guys are now prime crew! Prime crew! Prime crew, now!
[Talking and laughter]
Chris Hadfield: And Houston, that’s the official demarcation that the end of Expedition 35… again, enormous thanks to everybody on Earth that makes this possible. It’s been a very special time for us on board. Thank you very much.
Houston: Expedition 35, International Space Station is a fine ship. You have an amazing ground team, but you, the crew of Expedition 35, have been nothing short of tremendous. Not only have the efforts of Expedition 35 been extraordinary, but you’ve managed to bring us all along with you on your space odyssey. And for that, we thank you.
And Chris, as a fellow Canadian, I’d like to say thank you on behalf of Canada. We’re extremely proud of you and your efforts. You have fueled a new appreciation for what the challenges of space exploration have to do and have to offer our planet. Your leadership has been an example to all of us, and your extraordinary efforts to share space with us have inspired us to look back upon our planet, Spaceship Earth, with a new perspective and respect.
Canada is most certainly indebted to you for your tireless efforts. To you and your crew, Commander Hadfield, we thank you. [speaks Russian] Pavel, Vladimir, Mirovich… [speaks Russian]
Chris Hadfield: [speaks Russian] Thank you very much. Merci beaucoup. Jeremy, thank you – thanks a lot. We really appreciate it.