BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan – Chris Hadfield has successfully blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a mission that is to see him become the first Canadian to command the International Space Station.

Hadfield is travelling to the space station on board a Russian Soyuz capsule for a five-month visit to the giant orbiting space lab.
He is sharing the trip to the space station with NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko.

During his stay, the 53-year-old space veteran, an avid guitar player, plans to do some strumming to help him deal with homesickness.

He will also be involved with more than 130 experiments including Micro-flow, a Canadian blood-sampling experiment which he compared to a hospital in a box.

During the second half of his mission, Hadfield will become the first Canadian to command the space station.