One of Irelands best known fans of late is set to come back down to earth this week as the famous social media darlings from aboard the International Space Station (ISS) who have kept us enthralled from the confines of outer space are set to return home. Cmdr Chris Hadfield and his fellow astronauts from aboard the ISS, US astronaut Thomas Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko will finally make their voyage home and it will be final chapter on an adventure in space which has thrilled the twitter-sphere and brought the international space program international back to public attention and consciousness via the thoroughly modern medium of social media.
Over the past few months Cmdr Hadfield has kept us entertained and enthralled with his many tweets and videos from outer space, bringing space travel back into the public consciousness in a way not seen since the original moon landings in the 60’s. Indeed such is his following that he can now be said to be as famous as original moonwalkers Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
And as we may recall Cmdr Hadfield come to our attention when tweeting “as gaeilge” he brought the Irish language to international attention and to the twitter-sphere. He later delighted his many fans in Ireland and Internationally on St Patrick’s Day when he posted his version of Danny Boy suitably attired in a green bow tie and sweater. Whilst Danny Boy is his all-time favourite song, for his historic gaelic tweets he was helped with his “cupla focal” by his Irish based daughter Kristin Hadfield who is currently studying in Trinity college, Dublin, who along with her friends welcomed him here on a visit in 2011 with an introduction to the national delights favoured by many on Ireland Vacations found in Glendalough, the Guinness storehouse, Trinity college and our local gaelic football and matches.
As well as “Danny Boy” Mr Hadfield, a talented musician, also had the distinction of duetting” with the Chieftains at their recent gig in Houston Texas in February on a cover of Van Morison’s appropriately titled “Moondance”, singing with them live from his position aboard the ISS. And from “Moondance” to another appropriately titled song, in his last transmission from space, the multitalented Mr Hadfield signed off his duties with an out-of-this-world version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity a rendition that was in production since he joined the ISS five and a half months ago. He tweeted: “With deference to the genius of David Bowie, here’s Space Oddity, recorded on Station with a last glimpse of the world, he added his own timely twist to the Bowie song as he sang “Ground control to Major Tom, lock your Soyuz hatch and put your helmet on.”
As Mr Hadfield and his companions head back to earth, in a week that sees Star Trek re-enter the cinema, we say our goodbyes to a real and original spaceship crew who boldly went where their predecessors never went before, the twitter-space via the worldwide web. And as he acclimatizes to earth and greets family and friends we wish Mr Hadfield and his colleagues the very best and thank him for helping bring the Irish language and music to the modern world.