Major Jeremy Hansen

Video / March 24, 2014

Transcript

I’m Major Jeremy Hansen, a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force and an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency. Today I want to share with you a few of the opportunities Canada has presented me with. One of them is getting involved in aviation.

In order to prepare for a mission in space, you need a lot of different skill sets. Of course you need to be familiar with the systems of the International Space Station, the rocket that’s going to take you there and bring you back. Of course we learn as astronauts to operate Canadarm and Dextre, the other Canadian robot on board the International Space Station.

There’s spacewalk training which is very demanding and very exciting training to do but on top of all that you need self-confidence, leadership skills. Air cadets taught me some of the benefits of hard work and the rewards of that hard work. When I look back upon my life I realize some of the skill sets that the air cadet program was giving me were really taken by the Air Force and they were bolstered.

That is what led me to being a successful fighter pilot and what the military really did for me was challenge me. It was constantly asking me to push myself harder than I was comfortable. Those challenges really were fulfilled in the cockpit of a CF-18 fighter jet. Those challenges eventually prepared me for the rigours of space travel, ultimately leading me to the Canadian Space Agency where I’ve been training for the last four years preparing for a mission in space.

The Canadian Space Agency and Canadians – we have a laboratory in space, the International Space Station. In fact we witnessed just this year another Canadian who represented both the Canadian Space Agency and the Royal Canadian Air Force in space and that was astronaut Chris Hadfield.

We’re going to continue that legacy, sending astronauts to the International Space Station for the benefit of humanity, to do science and to learn how to live and work in space.

It’s a very unique experience for me to be working with Vintage Wings of Canada because we share a common goal with the Canadian Forces and the Canadian Space Agency. That goal is inspiring youth.

What better way to inspire youth than telling them some of the historic tales of the men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force, the aircraft that they flew, the missions they went on and when you really dig down underneath the layers of those stories, there’s a lot of Canadian modesty but when you really dig down there’s a tremendous amount of Canadian heroism.

That is really important to tell our Canadian youth today. That is what founded, that is what built Canada. Part of this partnership of Vintage Wings of Canada for me means I get to fly this historic airplane, the F-86 Sabre. It really is a magnificent airplane. It’s got a great Canadian history behind it.

It was an excellent airplane and if you speak to anyone who flew a number of airplanes in their career and this was one of them, I guarantee you they will tell you this was their favourite airplane and I can see why. Sixty years later it just flies magnificently.

It’s a real pleasure, a real dream come true for me to fly it and to strap into an airplane, which is one seat, and take it flying for the first time was a great challenge for me and a tremendous reward. I felt like I lived Canadian history. When I look back at Canada I realize that we are continuing that tradition of excellence, a tradition that we represent here at Vintage Wings, carries forward and the Canadian Space Agency and the Canadian Forces, people doing the right things for the right reasons.

It’s very inspiring for me knowing that Canada is playing a leadership role for this planet. I’m excited about the perspective that our military soldiers have, the perspective that I will gain leaving the surface of this planet and going into space, looking back upon our earth. That’s an important perspective. It makes me very proud of Canadians in general.

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