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Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield Lifts Off for Expedition 34/35

LONGUEUIL, QUEBEC -- (Marketwire) -- 12/19/12 -- Today, Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Astronaut Chris Hadfield launched on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7:12 a.m. EST.

The crew comprised of Hadfield, NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, will rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday. They will spend 147 days in orbit before their scheduled landing on the 14th of May, 2013.

"Canada has a proud legacy in space and the International Space Station is a global showcase for our world renowned robotics technology and expertise," said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the CSA. "In March, we will mark another important milestone, as astronaut Hadfield becomes the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station."

Expedition 34/35 is Canada's second long-duration mission on board the International Space Station (ISS). While aboard the Station, Hadfield will operate the Canadarm2, perform maintenance duties on the orbiting scientific laboratory, conduct over 100 international science experiments, and could perform a spacewalk. During the last two months of the mission, he will command the ISS.

"Through this mission we are leveraging Canada's specialised expertise in advanced space robotics, which have been absolutely critical to the construction of the Station, and to successful science and technology experiments on board the ISS," noted Steve MacLean, President of the CSA. "As Commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield will ignite interest and inspire Canada's next space generation to take their place in space."

This will be Astronaut Chris Hadfield's third space mission. During his first spaceflight in November 1995, aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis in Mission STS-74, they delivered a five-tonne docking module to the Russian Space Station Mir. His second space flight, which took place in April 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour on Mission STS-100 was highlighted by two spacewalks (a first for Canada) and the delivery and installation of Canadarm2 on the ISS.

Videos, animations and pictures are available at this address: ftp://ftp.asc-csa.gc.ca/users/expedition34-35/pub/B-ROLL/

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