This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for May 13, 2017: Bad News Good News

May 13, 2017: on this day: astronaut Chris Hadfield returns to Earth

Four years ago today, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield departed the International Space Station to return to Earth after almost a year in space.

Hadfield was the first Canadian to command the International Space Station, as well as the first Canadian to walk in space many years earlier. He made an effort to publicize his time in space via social media and television appearances. His zero-gravity acoustic cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” which Bowie himself called, “possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created,” has been viewed on YouTube over 35 million times.

Hadfield said that he made the video because it offered, “a chance to let people see where we truly are in space exploration.” On Earth, the performance became the subject of a legal battle hinging on the idea of copyright in orbit. Because copyright laws relate to their respective country of origin, it was unclear what jurisdiction a music video recorded in space would fall under. His was the first music video ever recorded outside of Earth’s atmosphere.

In 2015, Hadfield released his own album of songs that he had recorded aboard the ISS, called Space Sessions: Songs from a Tin Can.