Skip to main content

Canadian astronaut and International Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield performs his zero-gravity version of David Bowie’s hit “Space Oddity” in this image taken from video, courtesy of Chris Hadfield, NASA and CSA.NASA/Reuters

Chris Hadfield came back to Earth a year ago and this also means you can no longer see his famous Bowie video.

Mr. Hadfield's return from a five-month mission at the International Space Station coincided with the release of a video shot in orbit where he performed a cover of David Bowie's Space Oddity.

In a post on Twitter Tuesday morning, Mr. Hadfield said the highly popular video could only be posted for a year.

"Bowie's last day – we had permission for a year, so our Space Oddity video comes down today," the now-retired Canadian astronaut wrote.

Later on the Reddit Web portal, Mr. Hadfield and his son, Evan, said they hoped they could extend the video's licence but could offer no guarantee.

"We had permission from David Bowie's people to post the video on YouTube for a year, and that year is up," they said. "We are working on renewing the licence for it, but as there are no guarantees when it comes to videos shot in space, we thought you might want to have one last look before we take it down."

Since it was made public on YouTube, the video has been viewed more than 22.4 million times.

Mr. Hadfield commanded Expedition 35, the second leg of a five-month ISS flight that launched in December 2012 and returned to Earth in May 2013. He retired from the Canadian Space Agency in June.

During his time in the orbital outpost, he made extensive use of social media to share his experience, turning him into a prominent member of the astronaut corps.

Though Mr. Hadfield is a capable singer and guitar player who has performed in bands before, the remake of Mr. Bowie's 1969 classic Space Oddity video took six months to prepare and was carefully laid-out before he lifted off.

After obtaining Mr. Bowie's permission to use the song, Mr. Hadfield turned to Canadian musician Emm Gryner, a former Bowie collaborator who had also previously collaborated with the astronaut.

Ms. Gryner crafted a new arrangement. The lyrics were tweaked to reflect the technical specifics of Mr. Hadfield's mission (including a reference to a Russian Soyuz capsule, for example) and to conclude the song on an upbeat tone.

The instrumental parts were pre-recorded on Earth and mixed with ambient sounds from the space station and video footage of a singing Mr. Hadfield floating dreamily in the orbital lab.