Note: This post contains affiliate links which means I’ll make a small commission if you purchase anything from MasterClass. However, it didn’t stop me from sharing the bad and the ugly about Chris Hadfield’s MasterClass course.
In this review, I explain everything you need to know about Chris Hadfield’s MasterClass.
I’ll take you inside Chris Hadfield Teaches Space Exploration and what you can expect.
By the end of this review, you’ll know what’s great about Chris Hadfield’s Masterclass, what its weaknesses are, and whether you should enroll.
We have a lot to cover, so let’s get started.
Before we start: What is MasterClass?
Before we talk about Chris Hadfield’s MasterClass, let’s explain exactly what the platform MasterClass is.
MasterClass is an online learning platform where the world’s most successful people teach the thing that made them successful.
MasterClass is unique for two reasons:
- They have the world’s most well-known instructors. Really. Gordon Ramsay teaches cooking. Natalie Portman teaches acting. Garry Kasparov teaches chess. Neil Gaiman teaches writing. Thomas Keller teaches cooking. They even have Timbaland teaching producing and beat making.
- They have the best video production quality of any online education platform out there.
When you enroll in MasterClass, it’s addictive. The video lessons are inspiring and entertaining.
You can binge-watch just like you’d do with Netflix.
But instead of dulling your mind with nonsense, you’re learning while being entertained.
When so many of us are spending more time at home with the coronavirus lockdowns, MasterClass is a godsend.
How much does MasterClass cost?
MasterClass offers an All-Access Pass that gives you unlimited access to every class for $180 per year.
Who is Chris Hadfield?
Chris Hadfield is a retired astronaut, engineer, and former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot.
He is best remembered for his last five-5month trip to space in 2012-2013.
The veteran space-flier not only commanded the International Space Station but also charmed the world with his social media posts and humorous videos about life on the orbiting complex.
Just before landing, Hadfield’s swan song to space involved recording a new version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” – which went viral.
The long and short of it is that Hadfield is a highly experienced astronaut. He’s one of the best communicators about space travel and it’s a real treat to learn from him.
Chris Hadfield teaches space exploration
First thing, check out the video above.
This video will give you an idea of what the videos in the course are like.
As you can see, the quality is astounding. You’ll also get a taste of how Chris Hadfield will communicate with you.
A look inside
Chris Hadfield’s MasterClass consists of 29 lessons and a downloadable PDF you can use to follow along with the lessons.
I found the PDF particularly useful, as it clearly communicates the lessons in more detail and gives you extra reading resources to help further your learning.
It’s up to you how you use it, but I found reading it before listening to the lesson was most useful.
What you’ll learn in each lesson
The first lesson starts with introducing Chris Hadfield, explaining his history as an astronaut and former Commander of the International Space Station.
What I found inspiring was when Chris reflects on overcoming the impossible to explore outer space. It’s a beautiful meditation on the awesomeness of the universe and discovery in general.
You can’t help but be excited to begin this course.
2nd lesson: Astronaut training
The first real lesson talks about astronaut training.
It’s incredibly fascinating.
Let’s just put it this way: It isn’t exactly straightforward to be an astronaut.
You have to become an expert on everything.
After all, when you’re in space, “there is no one else to ask.”
Chris talks about what’s involved in astronaut training, from leadership skills to survival skills.
You’ll learn about training to survive emergency landings on Earth. Wherever you touch down on Earth, you have to know how to survive until rescue comes.
Just like an astronaut on his first day, we’re barraged with fascinating information right from the get-go.
Lessons 3 to 7: Rockets
Straight into science.
Chris explains the functions of the basics of a rocket, the physics of launching one beyond the atmosphere, and what it feels like to start.
After all, only a few hundred humans have ever traveled to space. Chris describes in precise detail the emotions an astronaut feels on launch day and the physical feeling of leaving Earth.
To hear the experience of someone who has done it was really interesting.
Chris also covers the orbital mechanics, fuels and propulsion and the price of exploration.
In these lessons on rockets, we’re already jam-packed with lots of hard science. It’s massive, in-depth, and exhilarating.
I’ll be honest, the science portion became a bit too much for me, but I’m sure science fans will love it.
Lessons 9 to 12: Spaceships
If you’re a sci-fi fan, strap your boots in. I loved this module.
Chris talks about the virtues and drawbacks of using the capsule model for human transport space. He talks about the differences in designs of the Apollo, Gemini, Lunar Lander, and Soyuz.
He also discusses shuttles. Two-thirds of those who’ve flown into space got there on a Space Shuttle. Chris outlines the impact of reusability and how spacecrafts will evolve in the future.
He finishes by discussing how astronauts use stars, planets, and instruments to navigate space and the process of finding the way to the International Space Station.
A lot of these lessons were utterly novel to me, and I found it a fantastic learning experience.
These lessons on spaceship design were unbelievable in its detail. It’s undeniable that a considerable amount of detail and planning has gone into this course.
Lesson 13 to 15: ISS
Chris details the process of constructing the ISS and explains the idea of shared exploration.
You also learn the many systems that work together to keep astronauts alive aboard the ISS and how they are evolving so we can fly further into space.
He also outlines the experiments happening on board the ISS.
Lesson 17: Training and learning
Preparing for space travel means learning massive amounts of information. In this lesson you’ll learn how Chris used a series of one-page summaries to recall complex systems and concepts on the fly during his time in space.
When you’re an astronaut, Chris says that it’s all about learning to solve your problems in “one breath.”
This is probably my favorite lesson. No matter what your profession is, one-pagers could help all of us.
Lessons 19 to 22: Spacewalking
Chris talks about the physical and mental challenges of walking in space, describing how great support teams are on Earth and inside the spacecraft during a spacewalk.
He also explains what spaceflight means for our human perspective and how we can use what we learn in space to preserve our species and planet.
The way Chris talks about spacewalking and the amazement of human achievement, I almost felt like I was spacewalking myself. It was inspiring.
Lessons 24 to 27: Mars
I found these lessons the most exciting. Space travel to Mars has been spoken about a lot, but to hear about the logistics of it from a true expert was exactly what I wanted to hear.
Chris explains the technical and societal challenges we face on Mars, including the ideal flight path required, the physics of slowing down and landing, and the risk of human life.
We learn about what it takes to grow food in space, protect ourselves from the elements, and readjust to gravity. He talks about the vital Sabatier process for creating hydrogen, oxygen, and methane on Mars.
He also discusses how finding life on Mars could deepen our understanding of the universe and illuminate our place within it.
Chris discusses how the spaceships that will take us to Mars will have to be different than those that took us to the moon.
For example, he talks about how we will develop toilets on the spaceships in the future.
Lesson 28: The future of exploration
In his parting words, Chris reflects on the cyclical nature of human exploration and Earth’s place in outer space.
I’ll be honest, this lesson almost brought a tear to my eye.
What I loved about Chris Hadfield’s MasterClass
To be honest, I was worried in the lessons on orbital mechanics that my lack of science and maths skills would be a barrier to enjoyment, but I was wrong.
Chris is a great teacher. He is a way of making complex ideas simple to understand.
I got so much more out of this course than I thought I would.
Thanks to Chris, I have a renewed appreciation for science and what’s going on in the Stars.
The science is easier to understand than I thought it would be
Initially, I thought I’d just enjoy the first few lessons, but once it got into the science, I’d track off.
But what’s great about the lessons is that the scientific information is paired side-by-side with inspiring talks on human nature, discovery, and life. It makes it so much more enjoyable.
Chris also has a way of talking about science so that everyone can understand.
There is advice you can apply to all areas of life
Some of the lessons have insights that can be useful to anyone going through hard times. When Chris talks about the dangers of pursuing the impossible (and how his friend died in a space shuttle disaster) it was emotional, inspiring, and deeply profound.
Whatever tough challenge you’re dealing with in life, you can learn something from it.
It isn’t just for sci-fi nerds, it really can be for anyone.
Even if you don’t understand the science behind the engineering, you can still marvel at its complexity and find hope from human ingenuity.
You’ll also have an appreciation of what a high-performing mindset looks like it. Astronauts are basically at the peak of efficiency and productivity.
Chris is a very clear and easy-to-understand teacher
Another thing I found interesting about these lessons is that Chris takes one facet of space travel, like rockets, and breaks down the history, what the present looks like, and what might happen in the future.
He paints such a clear picture. This keeps you engaged from beginning to end.
I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up, but by the end of each lesson, I’d learned so much, without really realizing it.
I found myself still being highly engaged when Chris went in-depth on a particular topic. He makes complex subjects easy to comprehend.
My favorite lesson was about using one-pagers in your learning. Everybody, no matter what field your is, can learn from that.
Being an astronaut is so much about how you manage information in your brain so you can access it when you need it.
This applies to everything when it comes to learning.
Quick pros and cons of Chris Hadfield MasterClass
What are the pros of Chris Hadfield Teaches Space Exploration?
If I had to boil it down to one thing, It’s Hadfield himself. He’s a legend, and he imparts his wisdom to us in down-to-earth and easy to understand way.
Other great reasons to take his MasterClass:
– The breadth of material. Chris covers everything rockets to exploring Mars. To be honest, there isn’t much that he doesn’t cover.
– The depth of knowledge. Chris Hadfield’s experience with space travel is shockingly strong, and this experience comes out when he clearly articulates concepts, so the viewer never feels lost.
– The theory. He talks about complicated theories in an easy to understand manner, and he also encourages you to think for yourself.
– The practice. Due to his personal experiences, Chris shows how the theory works in practice.
The pros don’t stop there. It’s difficult to capture all the things I like about Chris Hadfield Teaches Space Exploration in this review. I thought it was fantastic.
The cons of the Chris Hadfield MasterClass
There aren’t too many cons. It’s a great class. But here are the things that may not appeal to everyone.
– No ability to interact with Chris. Like all Masterclass classes, this is a one-and-done experience, Chris doesn’t do Q&As or coaching sessions.
– It’s not practical. Seeing as you’re learning about space and space exploration, it won’t exactly help you in your career or life.
– It doesn’t go too in-depth. This class is great for people who know a bit about space but want to learn more. However, if you’re already an expert, you may not get much of this class
Who is this MasterClass not for?
For starters, if you think that you’re going to become an astronaut from taking this class, then you’ll be sorely disappointed.
And if you’re not willing to pay attention and open your mind to the ideas and science of space travel, then this class isn’t for you.
It does take some mental effort and willingness to “think” about what Chris Hadfield is talking about to get the most out of it.
In short, you don’t need advanced science and maths skills, or even intermediate skills, but your mind can’t completely shut off when he talks about rockets and how it works.
What are the alternatives?
If you want to deepen your understanding of the stars and space travel, there are obviously a lot of free resources out there.
There are plenty of YouTube channels that have a variety of videos on space and how it all works.
You can learn a great deal from these videos. They’re free, informative, and easy to find.
They aren’t, however, curated to the degree that Chris Hadfield’s MasterClass is.
Chris infuses his class with wisdom, personal anecdotes, and history in a manner that feels much more like a well-crafted course.
It even comes with an awesome study guide.
It’s much more “put together” than the random space videos you’ll come across on the Internet.
Should you buy this MasterClass?
I learned a huge amount from this MasterClass. I took many notes and lost myself in the moment at times.
Sometimes you just have to sit back and say, “Wow! Humans are truly incredible”.
Chris Hadfield is an excellent teacher. He talks about incredible ideas in an easy to understand fashion. His teaching and storytelling skills are probably the best I’ve encountered on MasterClass.
Even if you’re only slightly interested in space travel, I think you can get a lot of out this MasterClass.
You’ll be inspired by the science of human space travel and the possibilities of what can happen in the future. It gets your imagination flowing.
You’ll also learn a lot from Chris Hadfield’s mindset and challenges he’s encountered.
If you’re going through challenging situations yourself, then I highly advise you to check this out. Adopting an astronaut’s type of attitude will help you in any situation.
Now, if you’re looking to become an astronaut from this MasterClass, then that won’t happen.
Nor will make you a rocket scientist.
But it does do is give you a great introduction to the world of space exploration.
And if you think that you’re not interested in space exploration, you can still learn plenty of life lessons from the great astronaut.
While it’s true that you can find the information in the course online for free, the fact Chris teaches it – a terrific teacher and highly engaging personality – makes it all the worthwhile.
And if you want All-Access Pass to MasterClass, click here.