Astronaut ends odyssey with out of this world version of Space Oddity
Dublin-based daughter of ISS commander Chris Hadfield awaits return to Earth
Commander Chris Hadfield performs a version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity on board the International Space Station.
While thousands of his social media followers will wish International Space Station commander Chris Hadfield and his fellow astronauts bon voyage back to Earth, his Irish-based daughter will be asleep.
They will begin a fiery atmospheric re-entry at 2.37am with a landing on the central Steppes of Kazakhstan at 3.31am.
Kristin Hadfield (26), a PhD student at Trinity College Dublin, says she intends to sleep through it. “The whole process of undocking and landing only takes a few hours and the timing isn’t great for us to watch it here in Ireland. Realising that while I was sleeping, my dad came home from space will make for a very nice wake up though,” she told The Irish Times.
Her father has captured the public imagination in a way that no individual astronaut has done since the moon landings.
Cmdr Hadfield signed off his duties with an out-of-this-world version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity. The video has been in production since he joined the ISS five and a half months ago. It has already been viewed more than 500,000 times.
Cmdr Hadfield’s son Evan, who is based in Germany, has been involved with putting the video together.
Kristin said the video was “great”, but cautioned: “I am tone deaf and I’m his daughter, so I’m probably not the most trustworthy music critic, but I think his version is Space Oddity is great. When I was a kid, my dad used to sing my brothers and me lullabies every night that he was home.
“He is part of a few bands including the all-astronaut band, Max Q. When he got to space, he asked his fans on Twitter what they’d most like to see him do and the most requested thing was to do a cover of Space Oddity. Although he is incredibly busy, he thought that doing something combining his two passions - music and space - was worth spending his very limited free time on.”
She is looking forward to him returning to Earth but also sad that his adventure is all over. “I know that he was having an incredible time up there and getting so much work done, so I imagine that he is wishing he had a bit more time.
“When someone is living their childhood dream, obviously you don’t want them to have to stop. That said, it will be great to have him home - he was in space for his anniversary with my mom, Christmas, my mom’s birthday, my brother’s 30th, my other brother’s birthday, and Mother’s Day, so we have a lot of delayed celebrating to do.”
Cmdr Hadfield, who is also a musician, posted his video of Space Oddity yesterday and it has already been viewed almost 300,000 times. The video was mixed by the Canadian Space Agency.
He tweeted: “With deference to the genius of David Bowie, here’s Space Oddity, recorded on Station. A last glimpse of the world.”
He modified Bowie’s words and sang “Ground control to Major Tom, lock your Soyuz hatch and put your helmet on.”
He also sang the words “Can you see me floating in my tin can, a last glimpse of the world” as he looks out of his hatch at Earth beneath.
Cmdr Hadfield first came to widespread attention in Ireland in February, when he tweeted: “Tá Éire fíorálainn! Land of green hills and dark beer. With Dublin glowing in the Irish night.” He envoked the help of his daughter and her Irish friends to get the sentence just right.
In February, Cmdr Hadfield, who has a keen interest in Irish music, duetted with The Chieftains on their version of Van Morrison’s Moondance. They were playing in Houston and he was live from the ISS.
The commander has played in numerous bands, including one in Houston called Max-Q whose members are all astronauts.
In April, he became the first astronaut to conduct an interview with The Irish Times from space in which he explained that it was not the first time he has got together with The Chieftains. “The band that I play with in Houston performs many Irish tunes, and we even played at the Festival Interceltique in Lorient with Paddy Moloney a decade ago.”
Kristin Hadfield came to Ireland two and a half years ago, after a family friend recommended Trinity. Her father visited her here in 2011. “She and her friends showed me the full local experience!” Cmdr Hadfield recalls. “We went hiking in Glendalough, attended the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, drank Guinness from the rooftop panorama after the factory tour, attended Gaelic football and a hurling match (Dublin vs Cork), saw the Book of Kells, looked at a round tower, and had a chipper.”
Then on St Patrick’s Day he dressed up in a green dicky-bow and sweater and posted his version of Danny Boy, his all-time favourite song.
Though the family, who grew up in Canada, have no Irish roots, Cmdr Hadfield explains that “Ireland has always interested me. It’s the source of so much distinct culture that is prevalent worldwide, and especially so in eastern Canada. I have loved and played and sung Irish music my whole life. Perhaps it started with my great-grandfather; he had a good voice, and in church when he didn’t like the hymn choice he would sing Danny Boy, much to the preacher’s dismay.”