In his Twitter feed, UK/ESA Astronaut and ISS crew member Tim Peake, KG5BVI, has noted the passing of rock legend David Bowie, whose 1969 hit single “Space Oddity” was covered in space by Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield, VA3OOG/KC5RNJ. Hadfield also remarked on Bowie’s death on January 10. In the somber “Space Oddity,” Bowie assumes the character of astronaut “Major Tom” in the song’s narrative.
“Saddened to hear David Bowie has lost his battle with cancer,” Peake tweeted from the International Space Station. “His music was an inspiration to many.” Peake has been usign the call sign GB1SS while on the ISS.
“A Space Oddity” tells the tale of Major Tom the astronaut, who becomes stranded in space. During his 2012/2013 duty tour on the ISS Hadfield’s rendition of “Space Oddity,” performed as he floated in microgravity on board the ISS and uploaded to YouTube, became a hit in its own right. Hadfield accompanied himself on acoustic guitar. In addition to being the first hit-maker in space, Hadfield also was the first Canadian to become ISS commander.
After the news of Bowie’s passing, Hadfield joined Peake and the European Space Agency (ESA) in paying tribute to Bowie on Twitter. “Rest in peace, Starman,” Hadfield tweeted. “The stars look very different today,” the ESA remarked in re-tweeting Peake’s message, which was accompanied by lyrics from “Space Oddity.”
Bowie, born David Robert Jones, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. His varied work has often played off themes of space, including the tune “Starman” from his “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” album in 1972, and his movie “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” Bowie’s last album was released days ago on his 69th birthday.