Excerpted from the petition:
May it please Her Majesty to honour retired Astronaut Chris Hadfield, a true Canadian and Commonwealth icon, with a substantive knighthood for his extraordinary achievements in space.
A former Royal Canadian Air Force pilot, Colonel Chris Hadfield was the first Canadian to walk in space. Hadfield has flown two space shuttle missions and served as commander of the International Space Station.
During the mission he gained popularity by chronicling life aboard the space station and taking pictures of the earth and posting them through Twitter and Facebook to a large following of people around the world. From his perch in orbit, he was a guest on television news and talk shows and gained immense popularity by playing his guitar in space. His rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” is easily considered to be “one of the best videos of all time.”
As the first Commonwealth citizen to command the ISS, Astronaut Chris Hadfield inspired people the world over, especially the next-generation of scientists and engineers, and once again brought international popular attention to space expeditions — all while running the most productive science mission to date. His exceptional achievements in space have made him, in the words of one BBC commentator, “the most famous astronaut since the days of Neil Armstrong and Yuri Gagarin.”
Given these outstanding contributions, we the undersigned believe a knighthood as something personal from the Queen, over and above any Canadian honours, would be highly appropriate to reflect the pride and gratitude of the whole Commonwealth family.
You can view the petition here:
Appeal to the Queen to Make Astronaut Chris Hadfield a Knight Petition | GoPetition
We don’t have quite as elaborate an honors system in America, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal being our highest honors, but I would argue that Colnel (RCAF, ret.) Hadfield’s international service would make him a candidate for them as well.
[UPDATE: 22 July 2013]
The author of this petition closed it on 15 July with the following statement:
Please disregard this petition. It was conceived with good intentions, but its author now believes that it is inadvisable to petition for Royal Honours.
Additional comment available here.