05/14/2013 12:41 EDT | Updated 07/14/2013 05:12 EDT

Chris Hadfield Has Made All Canadians Proud, Harper Says


SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper paid tribute Tuesday to Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield's time aboard the International Space Station.

Harper said Hadfield's mission is a proud moment for Canada.

"I'd like, as prime minister, to welcome Commander Chris Hadfield back to Earth," he said at a funding announcement. "He has made all Canadians proud. What a tremendous mission that has been."

Hadfield touched down in Kazakhstan on Monday night aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule, which was also carrying Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko and NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn — the same pair the Canadian astronaut blasted off with on Dec. 19, 2012.

During his five-month mission at the International Space Station, the 53-year-old space veteran became the first Canadian to command the orbiting laboratory.

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