NASA has a long tradition of waking up astronauts in orbit with special wakeup music, usually picked for individual crewmembers by a loved one or friend.
The final space shuttle mission, STS-135 aboard Atlantis, adds a twist to that tradition, with some very special astronaut wakeup songs to mark the end of NASA's shuttle program after 30 years. Take a look at the last shuttle wakeup songs here:
The Flight Day 2 wakeup music was "Viva la Vida" performed by Coldplay, a song picked by STS-135 Pilot Doug Hurley. The song was accompanied by a special good morning message recorded by employees at NASA's Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the NASA center that has managed the Space Shuttle’s solid rocket boosters, main engines and external tank throughout the program's history.
The Flight Day 3 wakeup call was "Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra played for Commander Chris Ferguson.
The Flight Day 4 wakeup call was "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba played for Mission Specialist Sandy Magnus.
The Flight Day 5 wakeup call was “More” by Matthew West played for Mission Specialist Rex Walheim.
Flight Day 6 was kick-started for the STS-135 astronauts with a special wake-up message from Elton John and one of the legendary performer's greatest hits. "Rocket Man" debuted around the time of the Apollo 16 mission, which sent men to the moon for the fifth time. The 4.5-minute song, which describes a long-term space-bound astronaut's mixed feelings at leaving his family to do his job, has been played to awaken four shuttle crews aboard Discovery and Atlantis. "Rocket Man" also, one of NASA's top 40 wakeup call songs listed for voter selection during a contest to commemorate the space shuttle Discovery and Endeavour's last missions, earned nearly 5,000 votes from the public. The song inspired by space exploration woke up the final space shuttle crew of Atlantis one last time, and the composer himself added: "Good morning Atlantis, this is Elton John. We wish you much success on your mission. A huge thank you to all the men and women at NASA who worked on the shuttle for the last three decades."
The four astronauts of the final space shuttle mission are greeted by R.E.M. front man Michael Stipe and the group’s hit, "Man on the Moon" to begin Flight Day 7. On recording this song for the Atlantis’ last crew Stipe said, “I recorded ‘Man on The Moon’ for NASA in Venice, Italy, where Galileo first presented to the Venetian government his eight-power telescope, and in 1610 wrote 'The Starry Messenger' (Sidereus Nuncius), an account of his early astronomical discoveries that altered forever our view of our place in the universe."
Paul McCartney and Beatles favorite "Good Day Sunshine" greet the Atlantis crew of Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley, Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim first thing on Flight Day 8. Sir Paul and the Beatles’ music have awakened a dozen past shuttle crews. "Good Day Sunshine" was played for two Discovery crews of STS-121 and STS-128. On learning the popular Beatles song was used to rouse the shuttle crew of STS-121, McCartney treated the Expedition 12 crew aboard the International Space Station with a live musical wakeup call during a first-ever concert linkup in November 2005. The wakeup call during which McCartney performed "Good Day Sunshine" and "English Tea," came from McCartney’s "US" Tour performance in Anaheim, California. During the live linkup, McCartney said," I can’t believe we’re actually transmitting to space" as Bill McArthur performed a zero-g flip for the 17,000 Earth bound concert-goers. In an interview about the "Good Day Sunshine" wakeup calls, McCartney said, "I think it hit a chord with American audiences, because…well they’re American, Number 1, and that’s their space shuttle going up there." McCartney and "Good Day Sunshine" hit a chord with the crewmembers of the final space shuttle crew in NASA’s history: "Good morning guys, wake up! And good luck on this, your last mission. Well done."
The Flight Day 11 wakeup music was "Days Go By" by Keith Urban, which was played for Mission Specialist Rex Walheim. The song was accompanied by a special good morning message recorded by employees at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. The NASA center is home not only to the astronaut corps, but also Mission Control and the Space Shuttle Program.
Flight Day 10 Wake Up Song and Greeting: The Flight Day 10 wakeup music was "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang, which was played for Mission Specialist Sandy Magnus. The song was accompanied by a special good morning message recorded by employees at NASA's Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi, the NASA center that is home to the test stands that verified each of the main engines that helped propel space shuttles into low Earth orbit, including the three used in the STS-135 launch.
The STS-135 crew gets moving on Flight Day 9 with "Run the World (Girls)" after being awakened by a special greeting from songstress Beyonce Knowles. Beyonce (AKA Sasha Fierce) was born in Houston, also home of the final shuttle astronauts: Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley, Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim. Beyonce brought it on orbit when "Girls" was played for the entire crew as a tribute to the final shuttle mission and also to women in space: “Good morning Atlantis, this is Beyonce. Sandy, Chris, Doug and Rex, you inspire all of us to dare to live our dreams, to know that we’re smart enough and strong enough to achieve them. This song is especially for my girl, Sandy, and all the women who’ve taken us to space with them and the girls who are our future explorers.”
The Flight Day 12 wakeup music was "Don't Panic" by Coldplay, which was played for Pilot Doug Hurley. This was the last wakeup song played for a shuttle crew while docked to the International Space Station. Coldplay's “Viva la Vida” was the wakeup music for the crew on Flight Day 2.
The Flight Day 13 wakeup music was "Fanfare for the Common Man" by Aaron Copland, played for Commander Chris Ferguson. It was followed by a prerecorded message from Kennedy Space Center employees. Kennedy is home to the space shuttle fleet, along with its launch pads and the people who prepared the shuttles for each trip into space. Atlantis is scheduled to land at the Shuttle Landing Facility in Kennedy on Thursday.
Kate Smith’s rendition of Irving Berlin’s "God Bless America" woke Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim. But unlike most wakeup songs, which are played in honor of a particular crew member, this one was dedicated to all the men and women who have worked for the Space Shuttle Program in the past three decades.