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How David Bowie saved Chris Hadfield’s ‘Space Oddity’ cover

Put your helmet on. Hadfield’s “Space Oddity” is orbiting YouTube again.


Audra Schroeder


Posted on Nov 4, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 6:53 am CDT

Internet-famous astronaut Chris Hadfield’s cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” from the International Space Station racked up more than 23 million views. Then, in May 2014, a one-year licensing issue forced the video offline.

On Facebook and Twitter, fans rallied around Hadfield and urged Bowie to reconsider the licensing deal, claiming it was a piece of history. Social media surges can often change tides, but the video ended up being taken down nonetheless.

Yesterday, Hadfield announced the clip was back on YouTube, with Bowie’s permission.

Bowie’s back! Here’s the story:

— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) November 3, 2014

In a post on his website, Hadfield recounted the saga of “Space Oddity,” explaining that “David Bowie and his publisher had been very gracious. They had allowed his work, his intellectual property, to be made freely available to everyone for a year, and had in fact worked with us and the Canadian Space Agency to make it happen. There was no rancour, and we removed it from YouTube to honour that agreement.”

There was also the issue of how copyright applied to the International Space Station, which Hadfield says he anticipated. Thankfully, the video is now available for two years, so float on over to the cover Bowie himself called “possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created.”

H/T Gizmodo | Screengrab via Chris Hadfield/YouTube

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*First Published: Nov 4, 2014, 1:41 pm CST