Astronaut aboard the International Space Station to connect with Waterloo students

The event is currently at capacity. Those interested in attending can access any available spaces on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 11:15 a.m. on Friday. For more information visit downlink event.

By Beth Gallagher

Communications and Public Affairs

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Jaclyn Blacklock is a Waterloo researcher who wants to know how leisure protects workers from stress on the job. So, when she saw an opportunity to talk directly to a Canadian astronaut working on the International Space Station (ISS) she jumped at the chance.

“It’s not every day you get to speak to someone in outer space. I think it’s pretty cool,” said Blacklock, a PhD student in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.

Blacklock is just one of the students chosen to speak to Hadfield during a unique space-to-campus connection on Friday February 15. The satellite connection, known as a downlink, will feature Hadfield answering questions live about his experiences on the ISS. The campus event will be held at the Humanities Theatre in Hagey hall. Hadfield will be orbiting the Earth at an altitude of about 370 kilometres when he makes the long-distance connection. This will be the first time Hadfield speaks to university students since he joined the mission last December.

Blacklock couldn’t help but wonder what Hadfield does to manage work stress on the ISS. “I wonder what you can do in such a confined space,” she says.

The view from​ there

Moon rising over the Earth's horizon.

See some of the breathtaking photos Chris Hadfield has been taking from orbit on our Storify. 

A floating tin of dehydrated astronaut food

One of the ways Hadfield is spending his leisure time in space is a common one planet side too: posting photos to Twitter.

Among stunning vistas and unpacking high-tech equipment, it seems even astronauts can't resist the urge to tweet their lunch.

Conversation from space

Follow the event by using the hashtags #AskHadfield or #uWaterloo, follow the event live tweet at @uWaterlooLIVE

A special event surrounding the downlink starts at 11:30 a.m. in the Humanities Theatre in Hagey Hall. The event will begin with a talk by Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen, followed by the University of Waterloo’s Richard Hughson. Hughson, the Schlegel Research Chair in Vascular Aging and Brain Health, is working with Hadfield to examine how zero-gravity affects the circulatory system. The Waterloo study will help researchers understand what factors might be involved in the stiffening of arteries as we age here on Earth. 

Hughson is also monitoring Hadfield’s blood pressure while on the five-month mission in an effort to answer questions about why some astronauts are prone to fainting once they return to Earth after extended space flight.

Hadfield will assume command of the orbiting research laboratory in March.

The event is currently at capacity. Those interested in attending can access available spaces on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 11:15 a.m. on Friday at the Humanities Theatre in Hagey Hall. For more information visit downlink event

A live webcast of the event can be viewed by visiting Hadfield livestream.