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Chris Hadfield MasterClass Review: Space Exploration

Do you have a dream of becoming an astronaut? With Chris Hadfield, you can start exploring space and learn what it takes to become an astronaut. Read our honest review of the course to determine whether this MasterClass is for you.

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Chris Hadfield Space Exploration: Our Verdict (2024)


4.6 / 5

The Space Exploration MasterClass is taught by Chris Hadfield, one of the most famous astronauts of our time. He talks about the astronaut training process, rocket and spaceship design, spacewalking, life on the ISS, and the challenges of exploring Mars. This is a very detailed but accessible course, offering a fascinating insight into the life of an astronaut.


  • Learning from a legendary astronaut
  • Comprehensible information
  • Fascinating stories
  • Useful Class Guide


  • It lasts almost 8 hours

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I think you need to decide in your heart what is worth doing in life… And then accept that there are risks. Not everyone is going to succeed… But don’t let that stop you.

When I was a kid, I had two wishes: to become a writer or an astronaut. Considering my skills and education, becoming a writer was probably more plausible.

But the fascination with space is still here. I’m a fan of Star Trek and authors like Andy Weir, and I’m always up for a challenge to learn more about astronomy. After all, I write science fiction, too, so I actually need this kind of information for my stories.

So, taking Chris Hadfield’s MasterClass seemed like the perfect idea.

But was the course too demanding for a casual learner and a beginner like me?

Who exactly would I recommend it to?

I’ll answer these questions and tell you everything about my learning experience in the following paragraphs.

Table of Contents

What is the Chris Hadfield MasterClass?

Chris Hadfield teaches Space Exploration” is an online course offered by MasterClass, a subscription-based platform known for well-produced video lessons taught by experts in the field. 

Often referred to as “the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong,” Chris Hadfield is a Canadian astronaut and engineer who became a worldwide sensation after his rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”

But the viral video is just a fraction of what Hadfield is celebrated for. He helped build the Mir space station, and in 2013, he became Commander of the International Space Station (ISS) for six months off-planet.

In his MasterClass, Hadfield teaches the basics of space flight and explains what it’s like to live and work in space. He walks you through astronaut training, spacewalking, and other fascinating moments that are part of an astronaut’s life.  

The course contains 29 lessons with a duration of 7 hours and 47 minutes. It’s rather long and detailed, so it’s best to take it in chunks.

Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station (ISS)
Chris Hadfield

Who is Chris Hadfield?

Chris Hadfield is a retired astronaut, engineer, and pilot and the first Canadian to perform extravehicular activity in outer space. He has flown two Space Shuttle missions and served as commander of the International Space Station.

Born in Sarnia, Ontario, Hadfield earned a powered pilot scholarship at age 16. After graduating high school, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces and later got an M.S. degree in aviation systems.

In 1992, he was selected to become one of four new Canadian astronauts from a field of 5,330 applicants. Three years later, he was aboard the Shuttle Atlantis, where he helped build the Mir space station.

After a rich career in NASA, Hadfield retired but continued to be active as a writer, TV show host, producer, and an adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

Who is Chris Hadfield’s MasterClass for?

At the beginning of the course, Chris says that this class is for anyone interested in exploration. So, if you’re passionate about finding new ideas and getting out of your comfort zone to test your limits, this MasterClass will provide you with plenty of inspiration.

However, you should keep in mind that some parts of the course are quite technical. For instance, Chris explains orbital mechanics, fuels and propulsion, and capsule design and breaks down the equation for atmospheric drag. All of that can be a bit overwhelming for casual learners who just want to find out what it’s like to float in space.

On the other hand, Chris explains everything in simple terms and makes scientific information accessible to everyone. Therefore, you can follow these lessons even if you’re a novice. But you do need to be passionate about science to truly enjoy them.

That said, I think Chris’ class is best for science students who want to learn from Chris Hadfield, learners who are fascinated by space exploration, and those who are curious about what it takes to become an astronaut.

Taking my own interests into consideration, I think Chris’ lessons are also useful for science fiction writers.

To sum things up, here are some of the people who would benefit the most from this course:

  • Science students
  • Admirers of Chris Hadfield
  • Learners who are passionate about space
  • SF writers

What does Chris Hadfield’s MasterClass cover?

In his MasterClass, Chris Hadfield talks about the scientific as well as experiential side of being an astronaut. So, he talks about the design of a rocket as well as the feeling you get during launch.

The course is pretty detailed and covers a variety of topics and concepts, including the requirements to be an astronaut, the construction of the ISS, the exploration of Mars, and the future of space exploration.

Chris explains some complex concepts in a very understandable way, so although it gives you an advantage, scientific knowledge is not a prerequisite. In fact, astronomy students will probably find this course pretty basic.

But Chris also shares fascinating stories and experiences, which is arguably the best part of the course. You have a chance to learn about space exploration first-hand from a legendary astronaut, and that’s priceless.

In terms of content, here is what you can expect from each lesson.

  • Lesson 1 is the introductory lesson, where Chris introduces himself and the course.
  • Lesson 2 covers astronaut training.
  • Lessons 3-8 are dedicated to rockets. Chris explains how they work, what it feels like to launch, how they’re designed, and how the laws of orbital mechanics govern spaceflight and navigation.
  • Lessons 9-12 revolve around spaceships. They cover capsule design, shuttles, and navigation systems.
  • Lessons 13-16 include information regarding the ISS. Chris talks about the construction of the ISS, experiments, life support systems, and commanding the ISS.
  • Lessons 17-18 tackle space travel preparations and mission control evolution and operations.
  • Lessons 19-23 are dedicated to spacewalking. Chris talks about spacesuits, training, and the physical and mental challenges of walking in space.
  • Lessons 24-27 are focused on the exploration of Mars and the significance of in-situ resource utilization.
  • Lesson 28 covers the future of space exploration.
  • Lesson 29 is a bonus chapter that includes Chris’ journey of becoming an astronaut.

My favorite lessons from Chris Hadfield’s MasterClass

Honestly, I genuinely enjoyed Chris Hadfield’s course. He is a fantastic teacher with a ton of inspiring stories to tell.

The lessons flow in a nice, logical way. So, even though the course is long, and it’s best to divide it into several learning sessions, it doesn’t really feel like too much.

Even the parts that were more science-heavy didn’t make me feel overwhelmed or confused.

In my opinion, each lesson has something interesting to offer, but here are some of my personal favorites.

Astronaut training

Chris Hadfield emphasizing the importance of being prepared to solve problems instantly
Chris Hadfield explaining that you need to be ready to solve problems in an instant

In this insightful lesson, Chris first lets you know that being an astronaut is not like in the movies.

You need a special set of skills to become an astronaut, and you need to go through training that will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to work and live in space. In other words, you need to become an expert in everything.

Astronauts also need to be ready to solve problems in an instant and without hesitation. Plus, there are medical requirements for astronauts since it’s important to stay healthy during missions.

Mars: Living on another planet

It takes time to readjust to gravity after experiencing space travel
It takes time to readjust to gravity after being in space

The future of exploration

Chris believes it's crucial to envision accomplishing seemingly impossible tasks
Chris believes it’s important to imagine doing impossible things

In this inspiring chapter, Chris shares his views on the future of space exploration. He talks about the power of imagination and persistence, which is applicable to any dream.

Chris’ dream was to become an astronaut, and he surely allowed himself to imagine the impossible. However, he points out that his experiences are rare and unique, which makes his advice and stories more honest and believable.

How much does the MasterClass cost?

MasterClass is a subscription-based learning platform, so it’s not possible to purchase courses individually. If you want to take this MasterClass, you have to become a subscriber.

The standard annual plan has been renamed "Plus" and is available at $120 a year (which makes it $10 per month, billed annually), and now provides access to all MasterClass courses on two devices instead of one. The Premium plan, providing access for up to six devices costs $240 per year.

A MasterClass subscription gives you unlimited access to a catalog of 200+ classes, so if you want to take multiple classes throughout the year, the subscription is definitely worth it, and there are pleny of interesting courses on related topics to explore.

Also, the platform offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not happy with your learning experience, you can request a full refund.

Note that the "Standard" membership, priced at $72 per year, only gives you access to their short-form learning content – none of their full MasterClasses are included.

What I liked about Chris Hadfield’s MasterClass

At some point, I thought to myself: this is one of the most exciting MasterClasses I’ve taken so far.

Learning about rockets and spacewalks from Chris Hadfield truly felt like a privilege. Chris is a great teacher and storyteller, which makes him even more suitable to teach this course.

All in all, I would wholeheartedly recommend this course to anyone interested in learning more about spaceships, spacewalks, and life on the ISS.

Here are the main reasons why I think this course is worth taking.

Learning from a legendary astronaut

As I just mentioned, I think Chris Hadfield is a great teacher. He is calm, eloquent, and friendly, and he explains difficult concepts with simple language.

He also gives many examples, and thanks to his storytelling skills, he manages to turn some of these examples into exciting stories.

Last but not least, he is incredibly inspiring. He does point out that his experiences are rare and unusual, which ultimately makes him easier to relate to.

Comprehensible information

Chris’ lessons are science-heavy, but not in a way that makes your head spin. After all, the course is geared towards those who are curious about space exploration and not astronomy experts.

So, even when talking about more complex stuff regarding rockets and spaceships, Chris uses relatively simple language and examples that helped me understand everything a little better. On the other hand, he doesn’t make things appear super easy or underestimate his learners’ capabilities.

Fascinating stories

This class offers a rare opportunity to hear more about how astronauts act and feel in space.

I really enjoyed listening to Chris’ stories, from spacewalk experiences to his responsibility of commanding the International Space Station.

It was also interesting to hear when and how he decided to become an astronaut. His life truly is inspiring, and his advice to allow yourself the freedom of the pursuit of your own dreams is worth following.

Useful Class Guide

If you want to learn more, you can always take a peak at the Class Guide.

Not every Class Guide offers as detailed information as the Space Exploration workbook, which is a huge plus for those who want to delve deeper into science.

Drawbacks of Chris Hadfield’s MasterClass

Well, each MasterClass comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Here is what I think could be a potential drawback of Chris’ class.

It lasts almost 8 hours

The course lasts 7 hours and 47 minutes. While this isn’t a drawback for curious learners who are eager to learn more about space flight, the duration does feel a bit intimidating at first.

Some topics could perhaps be approached in a different way, or there could be extra chapters at the end of the course for those who want to learn more. This way, more learners would be encouraged to take the course.

Before taking the MasterClass I felt a bit intimidated and skeptical too, thinking that the course might end up being too difficult for me. But it really wasn’t – it was challenging but comprehensible, and I surely don’t regret taking it.

Review conclusion: Is Chris Hadfield’s MasterClass worth it?

So is Chris Hadfield’s MasterClass worth taking?

If you ask me, it definitely is.

Whether you want to pursue a career in science or you’re just curious about space and the life of an astronaut, this course will certainly bring you many benefits.

Chris explains scientific concepts and ideas in an understandable way, which makes this MasterClass accessible to non-specialists and casual learners like me.

Thanks to a nice blend of science and Chris’ incredible stories, I felt focused and engaged during the whole course. I particularly liked the parts where he talked about life on Mars and what the future holds.

Also, it was fascinating to discover more about Chris’ journey. His experiences, indeed, are unique and rare.

As Chris said himself, this MasterClass allows people to get a glimpse into something that is barely possible.