Chris Hadfield says goodbye to space with stunning rock video
Canadian astronaut Cmdr. Chris Hadfield is leaving the International Space Station with the flourish of a rock star, releasing a polished music video tribute to his months in space in the final hours before his return to Earth.
Hadfield reworked some of the lyrics to pop star David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” playing guitar and having the instrument float around the ISS, "in a most peculiar way."
Some of his cover tune refers to Monday's return: "Lock your Soyuz hatch and put your helmet on.... Detach from station and may God's love be with you."
A link to the music video was Tweeted out from his @Cmdr_Hadfield Twitter account about one hour after he formally turned over command of the ISS to Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov.
“With deference to the genius of David Bowie, here's Space Oddity, recorded on Station. A last glimpse of the World.” (Scroll to bottom of story to see full YouTube video.)
It looks like the astronaut had a bit of help from folks back home on Earth in the special production. On the YouTube post, Hadfield thanked Canadian musician Emm Gryner, his son Evan Hadfield, music producer Joe Corcoran, and TV producer Andrew Tidby “for all their hard work.”
The handover ceremony to the Russian cosmonaut was also televised on NASA TV.
“I pass command of the International Space Station,” Hadfield said Sunday in a televised broadcast of the event. He shook Vinogradov’s hand and said, “Congratulations.”
Sunday’s passing of the torch marks the end of Hadfield’s role as the pilot of the massive orbiting research station since he took over on March 13, becoming the first Canadian to command the ISS.
During his mission, the 53-year-old took part in a number of experiments, installations and repairs while delighting and entertaining fans around the world with his seemingly non-stop updates on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
The former farm boy from southern Ontario even hosted a number of interactive chats with school groups and took part in Music Monday, leading one million students in a sing along of the song I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing), which he co-wrote with Barenaked Ladies singer Ed Robertson.
Hadfield also helped out with a number of Earth-based missions, including the unveiling of the new Canadarm exhibit earlier this month at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. Using his laptop onboard the ISS, Hadfield sent the Canadarm its “last command” from space.
Despite all of his accomplishments while onboard the ISS, Hadfield, who has travelled to space before, said the highlight of his mission was Saturday’s hastily-arranged spacewalk to plug an ammonia leak.
“For me, it really all came together in the last three days,” he said Sunday. “In an unprecedented display of competence and confidence on the ground, (we) put together a plan for Chris (Cassidy) and Tom (Marshburn) to go outside in a record amount of time.”
Late last week, NASA announced a last-minute spacewalk after a radiator leak was found in the ISS power system. U.S. astronauts Cassidy and Marshburn ventured out into space on Saturday, travelling 45 metres to replace a pump that had been leaking ammonia.
Hadfield, who will be packing his bags along with Marshburn and cosmonaut and Roman Romanenko, said he was proud of his six-member crew and everything they had accomplished.
“For me, this (mission) was a just a personification of what the International Space Station is and what the people mean to it. This is a human research vessel. We’ve shared it with millions of people around the world and we’ve done our absolute best to accomplish the work onboard,” he said.
Hadfield is expected to leave the space station just after 7 p.m. ET on Monday.
They are scheduled to burst through the Earth’s atmosphere on the Russian Soyuz capsule and land in the steppe of Kazakhstan southeast of Dzhezkazgan at approximately 10:30 p.m. ET
They will have spent 146 days in space since their Dec. 19 launch from Kazakhstan.