May 13, 2013
By Scott Walker
The first Canadian to command the international space station has handed over that command to a Russian Cosmonaut before his return to the planet tonight.
Chris Hadfield will return to earth for the first time in 146 days tonight. His five month mission ended in a somewhat dramatic fashion when an ammonia leak aboard the space station forced a dangerous and complex space walk to repair the problem.
Hadfield says he’s looking forward to the simple pleasures he has missed since he left the planet, primarily the texture and aroma of food. He says, after squeezing most of his meals out of a tube for five months, he’s looking forward to the smell of coffee.
Hadfield and two other astronauts will leave the space station around 7:30 this evening for a lightning-fast return to earth aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. Unlike the space shuttles that made a slow, gliding descent, Hadfield says the Soyuz comes back like a meteor and then deploys a parachute. But the ‘chute only slows the descent, and the craft will hit the ground with a bone-shaking thud.