Sundays 8pm to 11pm on Radio 2

New Episodes at CBC Music

New Episodes at CBC Music

Need more Strombo Show? Head over to our page on CBC Music for new episodes, playlists and video extras.

CBC Music Past Shows



Canadian Astronaut Set To Make History As Commander Of Space Station & Orbiting Rock Star With Ed Ro
December 16, 2012
submit to reddit


Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is set to make history in space.

Hadfield will blast off this Wednesday (Dec. 19) in a Soyuz capsule for a six month mission on the International Space Station.

During that time, in March, he'll become commander of the station - a first for any Canadian.

"For me, it is just surreal," Hadfield said in a recent interview from Star City, Russia, where he spent several weeks training.

"As an astronaut, it's a pinnacle," he said. "It is the highest level of responsibility of an astronaut to command a spaceship because of course, the lives of the ... people on board are my responsibility."

Hadfield, 53, grew up dreaming of being an astronaut - inspired by Neil Armstrong, the first astronaut on the moon.

Eventually, he became a Canadian Forces fighter pilot and got a degree in mechanical engineering.

20 years ago, he was chosen to become one of four new Canadian astronauts. Since then, he's been part of two NASA space shuttle missions and was the first Canadian to operate the Canadarm in orbit.

He's also done two spacewalks, and was the first Canadian to float freely in space. For this new mission, he's spent four years training.

"We really need to pay attention to the core of what's happening and that is on the afternoon of the 19th of December, to be able to walk out to the spaceship, healthy, well rested and with everything in order in our lives so that we can be absolutely ready to handle whatever goes on for the next six months," he says.

Hadfield is also an avid guitar player, and plans on playing, recording and writing some songs while he's in orbit.

Plus, he's teaming up with Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies to write a song called I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing) and perform it together on in February of next year.

Hadfield will play on the space station, while Robertson and the Barenaked Ladies play on earth with a high school choir.

Here they are in studio at CBC going through the song.

The performance will premiere on, CBC-TV and CBC Radio on February 8, 2013, so students across the country can learn the song in time for Music Monday on May 6, 2013.

Music Monday is on the first Monday in May each year. Hundreds of thousands of students and teachers take their music programs into their communities, and perform the same song at the same time.

Tomorrow, in honour of Hadfield's career, The National is airing a special documentary about his life and the training he goes through.

Hadfield also recently took questions on Reddit in the 'Ask Me Anything format. You can check that out here.

Two other men will be blasting off with Hadfield - NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko. Both of them are avid guitar players as well.

Mashburn is classically trained, while Romanenko played with U2 when they visited Moscow a couple of years ago.

Related stories

Ask An Astronaut: Julie Payette

What An Astronaut's Camera Sees

Imagine Having Your Wedding Photos Taken From Space; It Could Be Possible As Early As Next Year


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.