top of page

Obituaries: Major Tom, Manned Spaceflight Pioneer, Dead at 35

J. Marglous '21

art by J. Han ’21

Major Tom (NLN), the first Brit in space, passed away in orbit above South America, the British space program announced Thursday. He was 35.

According to the BSP, the cause was a space oddity. “Past 100,000 miles the circuit died and we lost communication with Major Tom,” said BSP spokesman Grant Hugh. “The last words we heard from him were ‘planet Earth is blue,’ and after that, there was nothing we could do.”

Enraptured with spaceflight from a young age, Major Tom was educated at Clifton College and Queen’s College, Cambridge, where he received a degree in laboratory astrophysics and a doctorate in mechanical engineering, Upon graduation, he enlisted in the BSP and was considered one of the agency’s brightest stars. He was also known for referring to himself and his fellow astronauts as “princes of the universe,” though he was informed on multiple occasions that this was a reference to the wrong British glam rocker and that Queen wouldn’t release that song for another seventeen years.

Major Tom is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, who was assured shortly before his death that Major Tom did love her, which she knew. She has asked that donations in Major Tom’s memory be made to the National Health Service’s protein pill-induced space psychosis research fund.

Mr. Hugh rightfully described Major Tom as a true “rocket man,” though this is a reference to the wrong British glam rocker: Elton John won’t release that song for another three years.

At the time of his death, Major Tom was just days into his mission to investigate life on Mars, though this is a reference to the wrong David Bowie album; he won’t release that song for another two years.

Recent Posts

See All

By J. Marglous '21 Dear Reader, It is with heavy hearts that we inform you of the passing of one of our longtime contributors, Benjamin C. Dingleberry. On Saturday morning NASA scientists confirmed th

bottom of page