Commander Chris Hadfield: The Apollo MURDERS!

Professor Brian Keating
3 min readOct 12, 2021
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In 1973: a final, top-secret mission was planned to go to the Moon. Three astronauts in a tiny spaceship, a quarter million miles from home. A quarter million miles from help. NASA is about to launch Apollo 18. While the mission has been billed as a scientific one, flight controller Kazimieras “Kaz” Zemeckis knows there is a darker objective.

Intelligence has discovered a secret Soviet space station spying on America, and Apollo 18 may be the only chance to stop it. But even as Kaz races to keep the NASA crew one step ahead of their Russian rivals, a deadly accident reveals that not everyone involved is quite who they were thought to be. With political stakes stretched to the breaking point, the White House and the Kremlin can only watch as their astronauts collide on the lunar surface, far beyond the reach of law or rescue.

Full of the fascinating technical detail that fans of The Martian loved, and reminiscent of the thrilling claustrophobia, twists, and tension of The Hunt for Red October, The Apollo Murders is a high-stakes thriller unlike any other.

Chris Hadfield captures the fierce G-forces of launch, the frozen loneliness of space, and the fear of holding on to the outside of a spacecraft orbiting the Earth at 17,000 miles per hour as only someone who has experienced all of these things in real life can. Strap in and count down for the ride of a lifetime!

We also discussed touring with David Bowie’s band, the time he met Sir Arthur C. Clarke, his dream aviation ‘hangar’, and even aliens! I found him incredibly vulnerable, authentic, and honest. His thoughts on how best to lead life… and grapple with death plus his one regret in life.

“An exceptional debut thriller and “exciting journey” into the dark heart of the Cold War and the space race from New York Times bestselling author and astronaut Chris Hadfield” (Andy Weir, author of The Martian and Project Hail Mary), past guest:

“Nail-biting . . . I couldn’t put it down.” — James Cameron, writer and director of Avatar and Titanic

“Not to be missed.” — Frederick Forsyth, author of The Day of the Jackal

“An explosive thriller by a writer who has actually been to space . . . Strap in for the ride!” — Gregg Hurwitz, author of Orphan X

Get the Apollo Murders here:

00:00:00 Intro

00:02:41 The origin story of the cover and the book.

00:09:00 Where do you go from on the “hedonic treadmill”? Is there a letdown?

00:16:50 What was the ROI on the Apollo missions?

00:27:38 How influential was the politics of the time on the narrative of the book?

00:37:00 How can you stand out and not be a jerk!? Insight on Astronaut selection.

00:39:37 Rapid fire questions.

00:46:21 Final Thrilling Three Questions: Ethical Will, time capsule, advice to younger self.

Professor Brian Keating

Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor at UC San Diego. Host of The INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE Podcast Authored: Losing the Nobel Prize & Think like a Nobel Prize Winner