Beloved ISS Commander Chris Hadfield Is Retiring

Chris Hadfield on the ISS with water bubble

By Robert T. Gonzalez from

So long, Commander Hadfield – and thanks for all the awesome!

Tonight at 7:08 ET, Commander Chris Hadfield – one of the most charismatic Commanders in the history of the International Space Station – will return … Read…

Chris Hadfield – Canadian astronaut (the first to ever serve as Commander of the International Space Station), space-musician (the first to record a music video in space), social media powerhouse, inspirational whirlwind and professional blower-of-minds – is retiring.

At a press conference held yesterday at the Canadian Space Agency’s headquarters, Hadfield told a standing-room only audience: “I’m making good on a promise I made to [my] wife nearly 30 years ago — that yes, eventually, we would be moving back to Canada.” His retirement is effective July 3rd.

Beloved ISS Commander Chris Hadfield Is Retiring

Chris-Hadfield-Tweet“To say goodbye to these good people today,” Hadfield later tweeted, in reference to the crowd of CSA employees gathered to see him off, “was much harder than I expected”:

“I’ve had such an interesting career and after 35 years it’s time to step down,” Commander Hadfield was quoted as saying by the CBC. “I’m the last astronaut of my class that’s still around.”

Beloved ISS Commander Chris Hadfield Is Retiring

“Chris Hadfield has inspired all Canadians, especially our next-generation of scientists and engineers,” Chris Alexander, parliamentary secretary for defense, said in a statement.

Beloved ISS Commander Chris Hadfield Is Retiring

“His exceptional career achievements make him a true Canadian hero and icon.”

Hear, hear.

Beloved ISS Commander Chris Hadfield Is Retiring

We wish Hadfield all the best – and while we know we shouldn’t expect him to maintain his impressive social media presence, we’re optimistic that he’ll stick around in some capacity. On a related note, we hope that more astronauts, moving forward, will take a page or two from Hadfield’s playbook when it comes to engaging with the public about science and space.

When Hadfield returned to Earth from the ISS in May, we put together a roundup of our favorite moments from his time aboard humanity’s orbital outpost. In light of his impending retirement, it seems fitting to post it here again. So long, Commander Hadfield – and, as always, thanks for all the awesome.

All images via NASA

[Full article]

The New York Times reports on Chris Hadfield’s “Space Oddity” video

ISS against a backdrop of Earth and space

Astronaut Covers ‘Space Oddity’ From Space

By Robert Mackey

The Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who has documented his five months in charge of the International Space Station in great detail in Twitter photographs and YouTube videos, celebrated his last day aboard the craft by releasing an elaborately produced cover version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”

Among the many admirers of the astronaut’s remarkable music video, which was viewed more than a million times in the 18 hours after it was posted on YouTube, were the editors of Mr. Bowie’s official Facebook page, who praised the cover as “possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created.” [At 4:34 p.m. on May 13, 2013 there were 2,710,632 views.]

Unlike most 53-year-old Bowie fans who record cover versions of his hits around the office in their spare time, Mr. Hadfield, who is scheduled to return to Earth on Monday in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, had the benefit of shooting in a zero-gravity work station with stunning views and help from a musician who once toured with Mr. Bowie.

The Canadian musician Emm Gryner, who sang with Mr. Bowie in 2000, explained in a post on her blog that she was happy to collaborate with the astronaut. “Chris is a musician and a pretty damn good one at that,” Ms. Gryner wrote late Sunday. “When Chris brought up collaborating while he was on this current mission I of course said yes with a capital Y-E-S and we went back and forth for a while figuring out what our collaboration might entail. When he told me he wanted to cover ‘Space Oddity’ I was over the moon — pardon the pun.”

She added:

The task was in front of me. I came up with a piano part. I then enlisted my friend, producer and fellow Canadian Joe Corcoran to take my piano idea and Chris’s vocal and blow it up into a fully produced song. Drums! Mellotrons! Fuzz bass! We also incorporated into the track ambient space station noises which Chris had put on his SoundCloud. I was mostly blown away by how pure and earnest Chris’s singing is on this track. Like weightlessness and his voice agreed to agree.

And voila! An astronaut sings “Space Oddity” in space!

As the CBC reports, Mr. Hadfield’s embrace of social networks to post sounds, images and video from space has earned him a huge following:

When he left Earth on Dec. 19, he had 20,000 Twitter followers, a number that has grown to more than 824,000 today. Followers come from around the world, and have been particularly intrigued by his much-praised photos of places on the globe.

Eighty-one videos of his I.S.S. experiences have proved an unexpected hit for the Canadian Space Agency, generating 22 million views.

Before the “Space Oddity” clip, the astronaut’s most popular YouTube clip was a demonstration of what happens when you wring the water out of a washcloth in space.

Among the sounds of the space station Mr. Hadfield recorded for his SoundCloud page was one titled “Spacewalk Pressure Equalization.”

As the Guardian blogger Paul Owen noted, the astronaut was fully aware of the fact that many of the photographs of Earth he posted on his @Cmdr_Hadfield Twitter feed from the space station resembled abstract expressionist paintings.

In his last hours on the station on Monday, Mr. Hadfield continued to share the experience with his Twitter followers.

[Full article with Commander Hadfield’s Tweets and his Twitpics of the Earth from space]

David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” recorded on the International Space Station

Chris Hadfield floating with his guitar in the ISS

This is so beautiful. I am bawling.

By Lauren Davis from

Chris Hadfield sings “Space Oddity” in the first music video in space

Tomorrow, Commander Chris Hadfield bids farewell to the International Space Station, meaning we won’t get our usual dose of his tweets and videos sent from space. But he’s signing off with a little David Bowie.
Hadfield’s son Evan writes:

He returns home in Soyuz in the early morning of the 14th, and this is his final video from Station. It is also, coincidentally, the first real music video ever recorded in space.

We’ve seen Hadfield strumming on his guitar up in the ISS, but this is a full music video—”Space Oddity” filmed in the best possible setting. Commander Hadfield, you are a world treasure. We wish you a safe journey back to Earth, but wonder whatever we shall do without your ISS reports to brighten our days.

[Full article]