Astronaut Chris Hadfield, who was the first astronaut to tweet from space, has announced his retirement from the space programme via Twitter. The Daily Mail reports that on Monday, June 10, 2013 he tweeted a picture of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) waving goodbye to him and wrote, “To say goodbye to these good people today was much harder than I expected.”
Hadfield has become known for embracing social media during his time in the ISS. His Twitter feed contains pictures from space. He posted many Youtube videos during his five months as commander of the International Space Station. Hadfield has tweeted in the Irish language and he celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in space with his rendition of “Danny Boy.”
Last month, his performance of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” became a viral hit. He said via Twitter, “With deference to the genius of David Bowie, here’s Space Oddity, recorded on Station. A last glimpse of the World.” His video has been watched almost 16 million times on Youtube and NASA believes it is the first music video made in space. Bowie’s official Facebook page said, “It’s possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created.”
At a press conference earlier this, he announced his plans to retire in the next month. He said he plans to give talks and presentations on space during the upcoming year while he plans his next move. His daughter Kristen, who is a PhD student at Trinity College’s School of Psychology in Dublin, revealed in February that her dad plans to visit Ireland. Hadfield had dinner with his wife and the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper before he gave his farewell speech at the CSA headquarters in Montreal.
Hadfield began his career in 1992 and he went on his first space mission in 1995. He represented CSA astronauts and coordinated their activities as the chief astronaut for the CSA between 1996 and 2000. Hadfield then spent the next two years as the director of operations for NASA at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, Russia. There he coordinated and directed all International Space Station crew activities in Russia and became a fully qualified flight engineer cosmonaut for the Soyuz TMA spacecraft. Between 2000 and 2006 he was based in Houston, Texas and rose to the role of chief of International Space Station Operations, which he held until 2008.
Less than a month ago, Hadfield completed his last space mission. A three man crew left the International Space Station last month and landed on May 14, 2013 outside the remote town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. Hadfield told Mission Control about those in the CSA who helped make his flight possible, “It’s just been an extremely fulfilling and amazing experience from end to end. From this Canadian to all the rest of them, I offer an enormous debt of thanks.”