People & Culture

Astronaut Chris Hadfield on “The Apollo Murders,” his thrilling novel of the Space Race

Episode 21

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield discusses how his own experiences in space informed his first novel, a classic Cold War-era spy thriller 

  • Published Sep 07, 2021
  • Updated Apr 13, 2022
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Commander Chris Hadfield is arguably Canada’s most famous astronaut. There was even a time, during his 2013 mission aboard the International Space Station, when he was quite possibly our most famous Canadian, appearing as a guest on talk shows and capturing the imaginations of millions with his viral dispatches from life in orbit. A veteran of multiple missions to space with the Canadian Space Agency, NASA and the Russian Space Program, he was the first Canadian to do a space walk, was commander of the ISS, and spent five years as the NASA representative to the Russian Space Program based in Moscow, becoming a fluent Russian speaker in the process.

It’s fair to say that Hadfield knows a thing or two about space, so when it came time for him to write his first ever novel, he turned for inspiration to the cosmos and the heyday of the Space Race, particularly the Apollo Missions to the moon in the 1960s and ’70s. Out next month, The Apollo Murders is a classic Cold War-era spy thriller. In this fascinating conversation, we discuss the moments in his own career that inspired a novel that now has leading Hollywood figures like James Cameron and Ryan Reynolds exploring turning it into a film. 

“I thought trying to write a fiction book that would really give people a feel for what space flight is like, not only would that be an interesting personal challenge, but also once people have read this book they’ll have almost an intuitive feel for what those various things are,” says Hadfield. “It gave [me] another avenue to share those extremely rare experiences that I’ve been lucky enough to have.”

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