Each month, Coast Monthly visits with some of the most charming people on the Texas Coast to see a few of their favorite things.
It was seeing a picture of Neil Armstrong standing on the moon that inspired Canadian-born Jeremy Hansen to become an astronaut.
As a young boy, he would look up at the night sky in awe, knowing there were actually those who had seen the Earth from a different perspective. He joined the Canadian Air Cadet Program and obtained both glider and private pilot licenses by age 17. Then came college, the Canadian Armed Forces, and the Canadian Space Agency.
In 2009, Hansen was one of two recruits selected from 5,300 applicants who would train alongside NASA astronauts at the Johnson Space Center.
After a move to Friendswood — where he now lives with his wife, Dr. Catherine Hansen, and their three children — he began his training. A typical day entails flying jets, practicing spacewalks in 300-pound spacesuits, operating robotics, studying Russian and going on survival expeditions in places such as the High Arctic and living in caves and under water.
Hansen is interested in going to Mars — round-trip, of course.
“It’s hard to grasp the enormity of our universe, so we need to continue to find out what’s out there for humanity,” he said. “As for my fashion style, when I’m not flying or in a space suit, I mostly wear jeans and casual outdoor clothing.”
Here are a few of his favorite things:
1. Shatter cones: These are fragments of rock from a meteor crater in the Arctic. They’re formed by violent shock waves of the impact. You only find these in meteor craters and nuclear test sites.
2. Log book: This is my documentation of the planes I’ve flown and my flying time since 1997. I have 2,156.7 miles logged so far.
3. Flight jacket: My flight jacket represents not only my job, but who I am.
4. F-86 Sabre: This is a rare, vintage Korean War plane. I’ve flown this a few times in Canadian air shows — it’s the greatest aviation honor I’ve had.
5. Astronaut pin: The silver one is what you get when you’re qualified to fly as an astronaut — after you fly in space, you get a gold one.
6. Patches: These are CF-18 Hornet flying patches from different Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons.
7. Gold pocket watch: I wear this with my military tux. It was a college graduation gift from my parents, engraved with: “Jeremy, Truth Duty Valor. Love, Mom and Dad.” Truth Duty Valor is the motto of my college.
8. Asolo Hiking Boots: I wore these while in the High Arctic. I took my son, Devon, there last summer.