On the heels of a five-month stay aboard the International Space Station, captivating audiences worldwide with tweets and photos from orbit, astronaut Chris Hadfield says he hopes his highly-publicized mission will spur continued support for the Canadian Space Agency.

Asked about his thoughts on the future of the agency, which faces budget cuts and significant changes to its program, Hadfield said there’s understandably a “battle” for continued funding.

“We should have to justify what we’re doing, just like everyone else,” Hadfield told CTV’s Canada AM on Tuesday. “What I’ve been working at for 21 years is trying to show people -- amongst all the other things Canadians are doing, and we’re doing with Canadian taxpayer dollars -- that this is one of the things that serves our purposes well.”

Hadfield said the research conducted during space missions is invaluable.

“For the amount of money we put into it, for the research and development, for the understanding of the planet that it brings back and the perspective that it gives us … is something that you should not ignore.”

He added that space missions have the tendency to inspire young Canadians in particular.

“They want to do something that’s right on the edge of impossible with their lives, just like I did as Canadian kid,” Hadfield said from NASA’s Johnston Space Centre in Houston, Texas.

More than a week after returning from five months in orbit, Hadfield said he’s amazed with the impact the photos and videos he captured in space have had on the public.

“I’ve tried for 21 years just to try and express the incredible opportunity that exists just beyond the borders of our atmosphere,” he said.

Hadfield said his body continues to slowly adjust to the effects of gravity and he’s improving by “leaps and bounds.”

“When I first got out of the capsule in Kazakhstan, it was bizarre and overwhelming. I just felt so dizzy and so disoriented. Now I’m not wearing a G-suit to keep the blood in my head anymore. I’m not feeling nauseous.”

He continued: “I feel weak and dizzy and I wouldn’t be test driving a car yet, but day by day I’m definitely getting better and feeling like an Earthling again.”