And he loves Limericks.
Sure why wouldn’t he?
And him only awesome.
Chris Hadfield and Helene Walter (now Hadfield) met in high school in Milton, west of Toronto. She worked as a “computer geek” for 20 years while he was a fighter pilot, then a test pilot and finally an astronaut.
The couple moved to Russia in 2001 and stayed two years while Chris Hadfield represented NASA there, and on returning to Houston Helene decided to train as a chef. Her main focus is baking and making pastries, though beyond that calls herself “an everything-chef.”
And she has first-hand experience of space food. Astronauts get to sample different space foods before they fly and choose their favourites, subject to what a nutritionist allows. Helene did some of the tasting with her husband.
“I sent up heart-chocolates and things for Valentine’s Day, so Chris can do that. And little plastic Easter eggs with chocolate things (inside) so he can do Easter egg hunts for the guys. Things like that.”
She’s not surprised by her husband’s enormous popularity in Twitter, saying this builds on something he has always enjoyed.
“Chris loves passing on information. That’s why he loves speaking so much. He loves speaking to students. He just loves the information transference, so and he likes being liked. So the more people like what he does, the more he wants to do it. So when he gets more Twitter (followers) he’s like a little kid, so then he wants to do more.
“And he feels that’s a big part of his job — which it is.”
She goes on: “He just thinks everything is so great and cool and wonderful and he wants people to feel it, too. One of his gifts (is) being able to take something and make it where you don’t have to be science-geeky or mechanical to go, ‘Oh yeah, I get that.’”
The Hadfield’s children are scattered, a son in Germany and another in China and a daughter working on her PhD and lecturing in Ireland. None is in the space or flying business.
Helene gets a laugh out of the perception that her husband is a steely-eyed, serious fighter pilot.
“It’s so funny because he looks like that guy that’s just work. People are so surprised often — yes, absolutely, he is targeted and serious when he needs to be. But then he’s got this really funny (side),” she says. “He loves limericks.”
Can you hear that, Major Moynes?
Pics: Ottawa Citizen, NASA