So many people long to be astronauts when they grow up, but only a few people ever actually make it to space. The ones that do are emissaries for the rest of us, their pictures and stories and data giving us a tenuous link to the burgeoning world of spaceflight.
There are books and conferences where you can learn about what being an astronaut is like, but Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield—of Space Oddity fame—just launched a program to take that learning experience one step further. This week, he announced a partnership with MasterClass, offering an in-depth course featuring 28 classes exploring what it’s really like to be an astronaut. The content is available exclusively on MasterClass’ new app for the first week, and on their website after May 1.
The course isn’t exactly cheap—it’s $90 for one class, or $180 for access to all of MasterClass’ content—but the lessons are interesting, and Hadfield hopes the platform will give people a way to access his expertise beyond his books and numerous talks and lectures. “Really the idea of it is to try to share the experiences I’ve had in a way that is accessible to other people,” Hadfield says.
The classes range from discussions of engines and how spaceflight maneuvers like docking work to future research opportunities, and the general experience of being in a place beyond our planet.
“It will open doors. Some of it is fairly straightforward and some of it is fairly technical,” Hadfield says, noting that he’s tried to include other resources at the ends of his classes for students that might want an even deeper dive into the material. Check out a section of his class below.
Taking the course is no guarantee that you’ll actually head to space one day to use what you’ve learned, but Hadfield is optimistic that space flight might someday follow airplanes and computers as a revolutionary technology that in intimately ingrained in our lives.
“The advent of an enabling technology is revolutionizing to what we consider to be normal within life, and there’s always a moment when the technology becomes proven and safe and cost effective enough that it starts to become available for not just research and esoteric projects, but it becomes reliably integrated into common life almost seamlessly,” Hadfield says. “I think we are at that point with spaceflight.”