Robin Williams, an Oscar-winning actor best known for his comedic work, died yesterday (Aug. 11) of an apparent suicide at 63 years old. In 1988, Williams helped to wake up the crew of NASA's space shuttle Discovery to start their morning.
"G-o-o-d morning Discovery!" Williams said in a video of the wakeup call posted by Space.com partner collectSPACE.com. "G-o-o-d morning Discovery! G-o-o-d morning Discovery! Rise and shine, boys. Time to start doing that shuttle shuffle. You know what I mean. Hey, here's a little song coming from the billions of us to the five of you."
Mission Controllers are seen laughing and smiling in the video as Williams' recorded wakeup (which makes reference to his 1987 role in "Good Morning, Vietnam") is broadcast to the astronauts orbiting Earth. The actor's introduction led into a space shuttle-themed song to the tune of the "Green Acres" TV show. [NASA's Final Space Shuttle Wakeup Songs]
Williams' call to the shuttle marked the first morning of the STS-26 mission, according to a New York Times story about the flight. The mission was the first launched since the Challenger disaster in 1986.
"STS-26 Commander Frederick H. Hauck, Pilot Richard Covey, Mission Specialists Mike Lounge, Pinky Nelson and David Hilmers received the traditional wake-up call on their first day in orbit on a mission to deploy NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-3, part of a network of satellites that support numerous NASA satellites and human spacecraft, including the International Space Station," NASA officials wrote in a video description of the wakeup call posted today (Aug. 12).
Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin also paid his respects to Williams with a post on social media today.
"I regarded Robin Williams as a friend and fellow sufferer,"Aldrin wrote on Facebook. "His passing is a great loss. The torment of depression and the complications of addiction that accompany it affect millions, including myself and family members before me - my grandfather committed suicide before I was born and my mother the year before I went to the moon - along with hundreds of veterans who come to a similar fate each year. As individuals and as a nation we need to be compassionate and supportive of all who suffer and give them the resources to face life."
Editor's Note: This story was updated to include more information at 5:50 p.m. EDT on Aug. 12.