Colonel Chris Hadfield

chris hadfield

When I was a kid, astronauts – in the Mercury and Gemini and Apollo missions – were all over television. You couldn’t escape them. They were always up in space, on endless dull missions, orbiting and spacewalking, and they pre-empted all my favorite shows.



This was lovely, and very exciting. But, god love them, they were so deadly dull. None of the astronauts had any personality to speak of; they were all big average-looking white men in puffy space suits. Later – much later – we found that some of them had personalities: Michael Collins could write well, and Alan Bean could paint, and Edgar Mitchell had interestingly creative ideas about spirituality and humanity and the Universe.



But that was later: much much later. At the time, in the 1960s and 70s, they were all just names and faces. NASA scrubbed all the personality out of them.



Well, it’s much later now.



Over our heads now orbits the International Space Station, crewed by Russians and Americans and – OMG! – Canadians. One particular Canadian, Chris Hadfield, has become an Internet celebrity. How? He takes pictures. Like this:



And this:


hadfield 2

And this:




He sings with children on Earth (especially in Canada). He’s excited about being in space, and he enjoys it, and he communicates his enjoyment to us on earth.



Most recently, just before his return to Earth, he lip-synched a (slightly rewritten) cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” complete with zero-G guitar.



I wish those repressed/oppressed 1960s astronauts had been given the freedom to express themselves, the way Chris Hadfield is expressing himself right now. I’d have been a lot more involved, and excited.




About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

2 Responses to Colonel Chris Hadfield

  1. starproms says:

    A talented man in many ways. The pictures are fabulous and he does a very convincing copy of David Bowie, doesn’t he.

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