It is about the launch of Major Tom, a fictional astronaut; its title alludes to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The lyrics have also been seen to lampoon the British space programme. The song appears on the album David Bowie (also known as Space Oddity).
The song was awarded the 1969 Ivor Novello Award, together with Peter Sarstedt’s “Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?”.
“Space Oddity” became so well known that Bowie’s second album, originally released as David Bowie in the UK (like his first album), was renamed after the track for its 1972 reissue by RCA Records, and has since become known by this name.
It was used by U2 during their 360° Tour (2009-2011). It was played over the public address system preceding the band’s arrival on stage. In 2013, the song gained renewed popularity after it was covered by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who performed the song while aboard the International Space Station, and therefore became the first music video shot in space. (source Wikipedia)