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Astronaut sings Bowie's 'Space Oddity' in zero gravity

Brandon Griggs, CNN
Many space fans already know about Chris Hadfield, a Canadian Space Agency astronaut who just spent five months aboard the International Space Station. He's a bit of a social media star, with hundreds of thousands of fans on Facebook and <a href='https://twitter.com/Cmdr_Hadfield' target='_blank'>Twitter</a>. But his rendition of <a href='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NX9ucLRJX8' target='_blank'>David Bowie's "Space Oddity"</a> is propelling him to further heights. The <a href='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NX9ucLRJX8' target='_blank'>viral video</a> is the latest of his many popular posts. Click through the gallery to see some other things Hadfield has shared via Twitter with the people of Earth, where he was scheduled to return the night of Monday, May 13. Many space fans already know about Chris Hadfield, a Canadian Space Agency astronaut who just spent five months aboard the International Space Station. He's a bit of a social media star, with hundreds of thousands of fans on Facebook and Twitter. But his rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" is propelling him to further heights. The viral video is the latest of his many popular posts. Click through the gallery to see some other things Hadfield has shared via Twitter with the people of Earth, where he was scheduled to return the night of Monday, May 13.
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Life in space: Candid photos
Life in space: Candid photos
Life in space: Candid photos
Life in space: Candid photos
Life in space: Candid photos
Life in space: Candid photos
Life in space: Candid photos
Life in space: Candid photos
Life in space: Candid photos
Life in space: Candid photos
Life in space: Candid photos
Life in space: Candid photos
Life in space: Candid photos
Life in space: Candid photos
Life in space: Candid photos
Life in space: Candid photos
Life in space: Candid photos
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Viral video shows a Canadian astronaut singing David Bowie's "Space Oddity" from space
  • Posted Sunday, video has more than 1 million views on YouTube
  • Chris Hadfield recorded the guitar and vocals on the International Space Station

(CNN) -- Chris Hadfield has conquered space. Now he's conquering the Internet, too.

A video of the Canadian astronaut singing David Bowie's "Space Oddity" from the International Space Station has been zipping around the Web at light speed since it was posted Sunday. The five-minute clip features Hadfield singing a modified version of the tune and strumming an acoustic guitar while floating through a space module, more than 200 miles above the Earth.

By Monday afternoon, it had more than 1.8 million views on YouTube, 3,000 comments on Reddit and was being widely shared across social networks.

Hadfield already was something of a social media star, with 260,000 fans on Facebook and more than 825,000 followers on Twitter. During his five months aboard the International Space Station, he has posted numerous photos and videos of himself preparing meals, brushing his teeth and explaining how to vomit in space.

Ground control to astronaut Chris

But the elegant "Space Oddity" video, reportedly months in the making, may rocket him into a higher orbit. Hadfield's earnest voice and unique perch in space brings a moving immediacy to Bowie's verses, and when he sings, "I'm floating in a most peculiar way" while actually floating, it's a powerful moment.

Astronaut singer's greatest hits
Wringing out a washcloth in zero gravity

Because Hadfield's vocals and guitar were recorded on the space station (and mixed with supporting tracks by Emm Gryner, a Canadian musician who once sang backup for Bowie), some observers are calling it the first music video made in space.

Commenters on Reddit praised the video's simplicity and genuineness.

"The floating guitar is really floating, it's not some computer animation or trickery. The Earth turning behind him in the windows is the real deal. That's us, that's our blue dot, not some stock image, or animation ...," wrote one Redditor. "The video has none of the Hollywood fakery we are used to. Its power comes from this authenticity."

Hadfield took a few liberties with the lyrics of the 1969 Bowie song, which became a hit upon its 1973 rerelease. In the original song, Ground Control loses radio contact with the astronaut, Major Tom, implying that the mission has failed. But Hadfield omits that part.

Bowie himself acknowledged the video, tweeting, "CHRIS HADFIELD SINGS SPACE ODDITY IN SPACE!"

The 53-year-old Hadfield launched aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft in December and in March became the first Canadian to lead a spaceship as commander of the International Space Station. The video clip was a farewell of sorts: Hadfield, Soyuz Cmdr. Roman Romanenko and Flight Engineer Tom Mars landed safely in their Soyuz spacecraft Tuesday in Kazakhstan as scheduled, according to NASA.

One Reddit commenter may have spoken for many when he wrote, "You'd better freakin' make it safely or this video will be the biggest tear-jerker on the Internet."

More space and science news from CNN Light Years

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