Posts Tagged ‘space travel’
Astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to command the International Space Station, has returned to Earth after almost five months in orbit.
Hadfield, along with flight engineers American Tom Marshburn and Russian Roman Romanenko, returned aboard a Soyuz capsule. They landed under a large parachute in the flat steppes of Kazakhstan at 10:31 p.m. ET
The astronauts are expected to emerge from the capsule about 20 to 30 minutes after landing.
It marks Hadfield’s first return from space in the Russian capsule — during his previous space missions, in 1995 and 2001, he travelled aboard one of the now retired space shuttles.
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The trio undocked from the space station shortly after 7 p.m. ET for their journey home. When they were about 12 kilometres from the station, the crew on the Soyuz capsule performed a successful de-orbit burn, slowing the craft down for its descent.
I watched the whole thing on NASA TV.
This morning when I woke up any number of blogs–Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy, Joe. My. God., Supernova Condensate–linked to Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield‘s cover of the David Bowie classic song “Space Oddity”.
As for the social media coverage, he’s inescapable. (Hadfield had nearly 1.9 million views when last I checked.)
The Telegraph’s Neil McCormick is probably right to place this in the context of David Bowie’s astounding revival of the past year.
A lot of musicians have dreamed of being the first rock star in space. Prog rockers Muse talk about it in almost every interview and claim to have made serious feasibility studies. U2 had a live satellite link up with the International Space Station during their 360 Degree tour. In 2009, it was reported that Spandau Ballet had actually been booked to perform on the maiden voyage of Richard Branson’s commercial spacecraft Enterprise, although one would have thought passengers paying over $200,000 a ticket would demand something more exclusive than cruise ship entertainment. So far, the Enterprise remains grounded.
And now Commander Chris Hadfield has beaten them all. The Canadian astronaut has become the first rock star in space, posting an astonishing video of himself playing guitar and singing in zero gravity aboard the International Space Station. The song, appropriately, is David Bowie’s Space Oddity, with music recorded on earth and vocals recorded in space. As the astronaut bobs weightlessly around singing “here I am, sitting in a tin can far above the world”, we see our big, beautiful planet looming behind him. The video would have cost a small fortune to shoot in a studio but presumably just took the singing spaceman a couple of spare hours with a handicam.
What it is worth to Bowie is incalculable. Not just in earnings (as the songwriter he makes money every time someone clicks on the video on YouTube) but in the way it seems to further affirm his current ubiquity in pop culture. Bowie is popular music’s Starman, a space age rock singer who always seemed like a character out of science fiction. And here he is again, beaming into our computers from outer space. For someone who, a year ago, was deemed to be a sickly recluse who had quietly retired from public life, Bowie has become all but inescapable.
Congratulations, however, are also due to Hadfield. He has made space travel cool again.