Inspiration from Col. Chris Hatfield

November 25, 2015


A couple of weeks ago, through my work, I was able to go to the Festival of Marketing and one of the keynote speakers was Col. Chris Hatfield.  You might remember this moustached Canadian from his space music video where he performed David Bowie’s Space Oddity or perhaps you have seen him on various morning talk shows giving five minute buckets of information that have left you wanting more!

Chris spoke for an hour to an audience that was captivated and amazed with what was being shared.  What makes him stand out is his ability to liken space facts to earth facts, giving you a sense of the magnitude of what astronauts do.  For example the space suit isn’t easy to move in, the material is tough like a volleyball so walking outside to fix equipment and move your fingers is not easy!

Being a marketing conference Chris was asked if he deliberately set out to be famous.  The answer was famous no, but about 10 years ago his family sat around the dinner table one night and discussed what would happen when Chris retired.  There are only so many chances to go to space for the human body and effectively astronauts take early retirement.  With the intention to highlight Canada’s involvement in the space program and wanting to be a good influence on society, Chris and his family slowly set about developing the Hatfield brand mainly through social media platforms.  The success of this has meant that one man’s knowledge is being shared universe wide and here are some of the quotes and information from his speech that impacted me and I hope inspire you.

  • When you are on the spacecraft odds are 1 in 38 you will die.  That’s like BA crashing 22 planes a day!
  • Give yourself permission to ignore things that don’t matter.  What happened is history, 5 minutes from now is the future.
  • When the spacecraft launches it is really loud and crazy powerful.  10tonnes of fuel are burnt per second and the horsepower is 80million.  Compared to a Jag that can do 550 horsepower!
  • Within 8.42minutes of launch you are at the right height, speed and direction to be weightless.
  • Life is just a sequence of small decisions you choose to do next! Impossible things happen with a lot of work!
  • Define what perfection is for you and determine what you need to do next to get there.  You can’t make a competent decision if you don’t understand all the elements that go into it!
  • Gravity is the ultimate oppressor!
  • Earth is the slowest help desk!  You have to rely on the other 5 astronauts to solve everything.
  • Space walks take 7-8 days to get ready for because they are dangerous.  Its 150 degrees Celsius in the sun and the universe is sand blasting you with bits of planets/comets/asteroids as you try to work!
  • For years in training Astronauts visualise failure.  What is the probable thing that can go wrong?  Prepare for it.  Things go wrong.  That’s life!
  • It takes 92mins to go around the world.  Africa is done in 5 mins!  Chris has been 2,650 times around the world.
  • Launch is still the most dangerous aspect of space travel.
  • We are on the cusp of rewriting space travel with everyone investing in making it accessible.
  • In 10-15 years there will be a bigger space station, then we will settle the moon, then we will go past there.
  • The goal of this generation should be to enable the younger generation to achieve all that they can.
  • When asked is settling on Mars possible Chris said yes it is!  Antarctica wasn’t 100 years ago but technology has allowed us to do this.  We couldn’t travel the Atlantic sea in 1941 but now we can.  Chris said he has great admiration for Elon Musk who is the main driver behind settling on Mars.
  • There will be another asteroid!  Dinosaurs went extinct because they didn’t have a space program!  We have more technology and can prepare.  It’s inevitable.
  • Let you own childlike curiosity guide your actions as much as you can!  Do things that give you a sense of satisfaction and purpose.
  • When asked about Interstellar Chris said he loved the new ideas and how it pushed him to think about new things.  Gravity however was too technically wrong to enjoy!
  • You can go into space now for $US30-40million by buying a ride with the Russians.  Once the price is down to a luxury car everyone will be doing it!  Chris is happy about this as then he hopes people will realise how we are impacting the earth as it is clear from space how we are destroying our home.

The best bit of the day was at the end of the his talk Chris was presented with the Guinness World Record for the first music video recorded in space!  Epic!!

Did you want to be an astronaut when you grew up?  What is your favourite space movie?

PF xo

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