News from Space: Chris Hadfield Says Goodbye to the ISS with a Music Video


How do you say goodbye to the International Space Station after five months in orbit? Well, if you’re Chris Hadfield, the commander of the latest mission to the ISS, you do so with a musical rendition! Yes, the Commander who back in February via telepresence with the Barenaked Ladies and Wexford Gleeks, is at it again. Back then, it was the original song “I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing)” that captured the hearts and minds of Canadians and people around the world.

This time around, it was his rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” that blew people away. Changing the lyrics just a little to make for a more positive tone, the version Hadfield sings here is essentially a farewell to the ISS and an expression of anticipation about his impending trip home. And as usual, he played his own guitar, sang all of his own the lyrics, and managed to capture the perfect combination of happiness and poignancy.


And it was a bittersweet event, when you get right down to it. Though Hadfield acknowledges that he will be coming home after many months of being away, he also repeatedly acknowledges in his musical rendition that this is the last time he will be seeing the ISS or looking down at Earth from orbit. One cannot help but feel that, under those circumstances, that Hadfield was expressing some mixed emotions, and this song is quite sad as well as upbeat as a result.

But of course, he had some help from people back home. On the YouTube post where the video was uploaded, Hadfield thanked Canadian musician Emm Gryner, his son Evan Hadfield, music producer Joe Corcoran, and TV producer Andrew Tidby “for all their hard work.” A link to the music video was also Tweeted out from his Twitter account about one hour after he formally turned over command of the ISS to Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov with the message:

With deference to the genius of David Bowie, here’s Space Oddity, recorded on Station. A last glimpse of the World.


Some of Hadfield’s own lyrics refer to his impending return, such as “Lock your Soyuz hatch and put your helmet on” or “Detach from station and may God’s love be with you.”  Along with the two other members of his mission crew, the departure took place shortly after 7 p.m. ET, yesterday. The trio then landed under a large parachute in the flat steppes of Kazakhstan at 10:31 p.m. ET where they were picked up by helicopter and flown to Karaganda, Kazakhstan for medical checkups.

What’s next for Hadfield and his crew? Late tomorrow, Hadfield and Marshburn will be arriving via a NASA flight back in Houston while Romanenko will board a Russian aircraft for a flight to Star City (aka. Zvyozdny gorodok), just outside of Moscow. And when Hadfield finishes the last leg of his trip home, I am sure he can look forward to a hero’s welcome, not to mention a lifetime of endorsements an fond memories.

After all, if he’s demonstrated anything in the past five months, its that he’s quite the performer in addition to being an astronaut and commander. And given the impact he has had, I’d be very surprised if Canadians or the world at large stopped thinking about him anytime soon. In the meantime, check out the video of his cover of “Space Oddity” below. The production values and Hadfield’s singing are pretty damn awesome, if I do say so myself!


ISS Astronaut Chris Hadfield sings with the Barenaked Ladies!

ISS_Hadfield_BNLFans of The Big Bang Theory, or anyone who has lived in Canada for the last 20 years, ought to be instantly familiar with the Barenaked Ladies. However, what is not common knowledge is that Chris Hadfield, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station, is himself Canadian and apparently, quite the musician! Not only can he sing, he can play the guitar in zero-gravity and even execute some sweet moves. Quite the ensemble!

And in this rare treat, which took place back in February, Hadfield, the Barenaked Ladies, and the Wexford Gleeks children’s choir all collaborated to create the world’s first space-to-earth musical collaboration. The song they sang was an original creation, entitled “I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing)”, which was commissioned by and The Coalition for Music Education with the Canadian Space Agency to celebrate music education in schools across Canada.

So if you have a few minutes, I recommend you cue up this video, turn the volume up, and enjoy a truly heartwarming and breathtaking song that celebrates Canada, music, planet Earth, and the wonder of looking down at it all from space. It’ll give you goose bumps, I swear!

NASA Loses Contact With ISS

International-Space-Station-ISS-580x441It’s something no one hovering hundreds of kilometers over the Earth ever really wants to experience. Yes, when you floating in a tin can, you’re only connection to the surface being a communications relay, it can be pretty scary when it suddenly stops working. Can’t be much of a picnic for those working Mission Control either, or the families forced to sit idly by and wait for others to figure out what went wrong.

The communications blackout began on Tues, Feb. 19th at 9:45 am EST(15:45 UTC) , and lasted until 11:34 am yesterday (17:34 UTC). So for a good twenty-six hours straight, the ISS was unable to communicate with ground crews, which as anyone can guess caused a bit of a stir. Luckily, it turns out everyone on board the ISS was just fine the whole time, no injuries or space invaders to speak of!

According to a statement filed by NASA, communications were apparently lost when flight controllers in Houston were updating the software onboard the station’s flight computers and one of the station’s data relay systems malfunctioned. The primary computer that controls critical station functions defaulted to a backup computer, but was not allowing the station to communicate with NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellites.

NASA_ISScrewThen, just before 11:00 a.m. EST, flight controllers were able to communicate with the crew once more as the space station flew over Russian ground stations. They then instructed the crew to connect a backup computer to begin the process of restoring communications. Once that was done, Expedition 34 Commander Kevin Ford reported the following:

“Hey, just FYI, the station is still flying straight, everybody is in good shape, or course, and nothing unexpected except lots of caution and warning [alarms]. All the systems look like they are doing just fine.”

According to the Johnson Space Center’s latest Twitter update, the crew is back at work and the crew is taking questions from fans. Click here to see what the crew had to say about the temporary communications blackout and what’s in store for them now.

In an ironic twist, sources have since indicated that Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield Tweeted the following from the ISS shortly before the blackout took place: “Good Morning, Earth! Today we transition the Space Station’s main computers to a new software load. Nothing could possibly go wrong.” The moral here? Things can always go wrong! And don’t tempt fate, especially when you’re hurling through space, hundreds of kilometers above the Earth.