NASA reported that Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield, 53, took control over the ISS during a change of command ceremony Wednesday.
"It is a tremendous honor to assume command of the ISS. I will do my best to acquit myself well, accomplish the utmost as a crew for all the International Partners, and fully live and share the experience on behalf of so many around our world," said Hadfield.
Hadfield, a veteran of the Canadian Space Agency, is heading Expedition 35, which officially began with the undocking of the Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft on Thursday.
The space station has been staffed around the clock since November 2000, and for the most part, either U.S. astronauts or Russian cosmonauts have been in command. Frank De Winne, a European Space Agency astronaut, skippered the station in 2009.
Queen Elizabeth II, who reigns over the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms, including Canada, offered her congratulations to Hadfield.
"I am pleased to transmit my personal best wishes, and those of all Canadians, to Colonel Christopher Hadfield as he takes command of the International Space Station," Queen Elizabeth II said in a statement.
"Our thoughts and best wishes are with him and the entire crew, as are our prayers for an eventual safe return to family, friends and fellow Canadians."
Hadfield will run the ISS along with five other crew members until he returns to Earth in mid-May.