Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut who captured worldwide attention with his stunning photos of Earth and educational videos from space, has announced his retirement.
Hadfield last month returned from a five-month stint on the International Space Station, his third mission into space, following a visit to the Russian space station MIR in 1995 and the ISS in 2001, when he became the first Canadian to perform a spacewalk.
During his most recent space mission, Hadfield embraced social media, accruing more than a million Twitter followers and more than 387,000 likes on Facebook, as well posting scores of videos on Youtube sharing life aboard the ISS and also partaking in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" live chat.
He also recorded a polished video performance of David Bowie's Space Oddity while orbiting the Earth. The video has had more than 15 million views on Youtube.
"I am extremely proud to have shared my experience," Hadfield said in a Canadian Space Agency statement. "I will continue to reinforce the importance of space exploration through public speaking and will continue to visit Canadian schools through the CSA."
Hadfield's retirement will take effect on July 3.
At a press conference at the CSA headquarters in Montreal, the former Cold War fighter pilot said his time as an astronaut had been an "incredible adventur", the Daily Telegraph reported.
"In about a month I'll be retiring from the Canadian Space Agency and just pursuing private interests, and getting my feet planted on the soil and seeing where the future takes me."