Chris Hadfield is known for becoming the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station, and now the astronaut has a new distinction: the first to film a music video in space.
Hadfield, 53, released his video for David Bowie’s 1969 space epic “Space Oddity” on Sunday (May 12), coinciding with his return to Earth.
In the video, Hadfield floats through the International Space Station, armed with an acoustic guitar. In many of the shots you can see Earth floating behind him, providing fantastic glimpses of the planet. The video also offers a look into the makeup of the space station itself, containing several shots of different compartments and rooms — often with zero gravity, meaning the astronaut is singing and performing even without his feet on the ground.
This isn’t just a lip sync, either — it’s a bona fide cover. Hadfield provides vocals and acoustic guitar playing on the song, both of which were recorded while in space.
The rest of the arrangement, which includes guitar, strings, piano and drums, was done by Canadian singer-songwriter Emm Gryner and producer Joe Corcoran. Gryner in particular has ties to Bowie himself; she has performed as part of the singer’s backing band, performing vocals and keys.
Bowie’s official Twitter and Facebook pages have shared a link to the video, adding the words “Hallo Spaceboy…” in reference to the singer’s 1995 song of the same name.
Hadfield’s version is perhaps the most poignant and literal interpretations of the Bowie tune. The song has also been covered in the past by such artists as the Smashing Pumpkins and Cat Power, as well as the 1983 reimagining by Peter Schilling, “Major Tom (Coming Home).”
Unlike the Major Tom in the song, Hadfield won’t be floating off into space, leaving behind his home. He’s scheduled to begin his return to Earth this evening, between 9:30 and 11 p.m. EST.