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Canadian commands space station for first time

Published on Mar 14, 2013 6:25 AM
Taking advantage of a weightless environment onboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, Expedition 34 Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency juggles some tomatoes, which he probably considers to be among the more delicious components of a recent "package" that arrived from Earth, taken on March 3, 2013. Hadfield becomes the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station on March 13, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS/NASA

OTTAWA (AFP) - With the ringing of a ceremonial bell in space to mark a crew change, astronaut Chris Hadfield became the first Canadian to assume command of the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday.

The Canadian Space Agency called it "a historic milestone for our country"

Mr Hadfield said in a Twitter message that outgoing Expedition 34 commander Kevin Ford of Nasa handed him the "keys" to the spaceship, marking the start of the Hadfield-led Expedition 35.

The two men also shook hands and gave short speeches, and Mr Ford offered Mr Hadfield a few gifts.

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