Astronaut Chris Hadfield surprises Adam King of the Late Late Toy Show

Former ISS commander tells boy to pursue dreams of working on space missions

Former astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield has turned up on The Late Late Show to surprise six-year-old Adam King.

Adam, who has brittle bones, was one of the stars of the RTÉ Late Late Toy Show on Friday night last week.

He expressed an interest on it of being a capsule commander (Capcom) because his condition meant he could not be an astronaut.

His appearance came to the attention of Cmdr Hadfield who flew two missions on the space shuttle and was commander of the International Space Station in 2013 when he tweeted on St Patrick’s Day: “Maidin mhaith from the international Space Station! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to the Irish all around the globe.”


His daughter was studying in Trinity College Dublin at the time and he has since become a regular visitor to Ireland.

On Friday Adam was on the Late Late Show again, this time via Zoom when he was linked up with Cmdr Hadfield.

Cmdr Hadfield first spoke to host Ryan Tubridy and told him how Adam had caught his attention:

“There was such a social media response, just to the type of person that he [Adam] is. Immediately it just lit up with ‘hey, Commander Hadfield, you have got to meet this kid’ and so I just responded back that I’d love to and comment on the type of person that he is, and I obviously wasn’t alone in [thinking] that. It has been really nice to see and have a little more direct contact with Adam and his family.”

Cmdr Hadfield told him that he had been a Capcom too for space shuttle missions.

“Capcom is a fascinating job, you are right in the thick of it, it’s like a mystery, solving things constantly . You have to rely on your own skill and the skill of the people around you,” he explained.

“That type of environment, it seems to me that he [Adam] might thrive in. Maybe more importantly now [aged 6] it inspires him right now to pursue things that otherwise he might never have felt the freedom to pursue and that may be just as important.

“Sure, he will end up doing something superb with his life, but the process and the inspiration I think is so important and that’s part of the reflection that I really like to see also.”

Cmdr Hadfield asked Adam where he went on his imaginary space missions to which Adam responded: “Sometimes I go to the moon and sometimes I go to some other places, like different planets.”

Cmdr Hadfield responded: “I don’t know if you know but I have two brothers and two sisters and when I was your age, we did the exact same thing, we dreamed about flying in space.

“The cool thing Adam is that, when I got older, I got the chance to actually fly in space, three times. It’s amazing what can happen in life, and I was a Capcom.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times