BRAMPTON, Ont. -- Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield will face a wide variety of challenges on his next space mission.

The 53-year-old Hadfield is due to blast off on December 19 to become the first Canadian to take command of the International Space Station -- and he's scheduled to spend six months flying circles around the earth.

Comparing it to his previous space flights, Hadfield says it's like the difference between a quick visit and actually moving somewhere.

To prepare for such a long mission, Hadfield says you have to think about every thing from how many tooth brushes to pack and how to celebrate anniversaries, to how to stay mentally and physically strong.

He says there's a great deal to be learned as they "write the book" on how people are going to eventually leave Earth permanently.