Astronaut Rock: NASA's Final Space Shuttle Wakeup Songs

Rockin' Out in Zero-G

Columbia, Factory, MCA, RCA, Virgin, Warner Bros.

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:

Flight Day 2 - July 9, 2011

Coldplay (via Facebook)

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.

Flight Day 3 - July 10, 2011

Jet/United Artists/Columbia

The Flight Day 3 wakeup call was "Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra played for Commander Chris Ferguson.

Flight Day 4 - July 11, 2011

EMI Electrola/Universal/Republic

The Flight Day 4 wakeup call was "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba played for Mission Specialist Sandy Magnus.

Flight Day 5 - July 12, 2011


The Flight Day 5 wakeup call was "More" by Matthew West played for Mission Specialist Rex Walheim.

Flight Day 6 - July 13, 2011


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."

Flight Day 7 - July 14, 2011


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."

Flight Day 8 - July 15, 2011


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."

Flight Day 9 - July 16, 2011

Keith Urban (via

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 - July 17, 2011

De-Lite Records

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.

Flight Day 11 - July 18, 2011


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."

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: Staff
News and editorial team is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.