How to shave your head in space: astronaut video

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy recently demonstrated the fine art of shaving your head in space. It's more complicated than you might think.

Courtesy of Chris Cassidy / NASA /
Astronaut Chris Cassidy shaved his head while on the International Space Station to welcome his new crewmate Luca Parmitano.

Shaving your head is the simplest of haircuts here on Earth, but it presents some special challenges in space, as NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy recently demonstrated.

Cassidy shaved his head in orbit late last month to welcome chrome-domed Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, who arrived at the International Space Station on May 28 along with NASA's Karen Nyberg and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin.

"I'm going to go out on a limb here and get the full-on Luca Parmitano look for the hatch-opening ceremony," Cassidy said in a NASA video showing the head-shaving process. "So please join me [at] Chris' Barber Shop."

Cassidy held a hair trimmer up to the camera, then connected it to a vacuum cleaner using a long tube.

"Otherwise, the hair would get all over the place," he explained.

Then Cassidy commenced buzzing his hair, which was pretty short to begin with. He stopped halfway through the process and smiled at the camera, showing off a temporary mohawk.

"I don't think I've looked like this since Plebe Summer," the former Navy SEAL said as he shaved off the mohawk, referring to the training program the United States Naval Academy puts all of its incoming freshmen through.

After finishing with the clippers, Cassidy reached for a razor to give himself Parmitano's sleek, smooth-pated look.

"I wonder if he does this every day," Cassidy said before wiping his newly shorn scalp down with a small white towel. "It kinda hurts."

While head-shaving may not have been filmed in space before, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield demonstrated how he shaved his face in microgravity in April.

Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Misurkin and Pavel Vinogradov launched toward the orbiting lab aboard a Soyuz spacecraft on March 28. Along with Parmitano, Nyberg and Yurchikhin, they make up the crew of the space station's current Expedition 36.

Cassidy, Misurkin and Vinogradov are slated to return to Earth in September. Their three crewmates will remain in orbit a few more months, coming home in November.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @SpacedotcomFacebook or Google+. Originally published on

Copyright 2013, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to