Final Voyage of NASA's Space Shuttle

Shuttle Astronauts Wake Up to Paul McCartney, Obama to Call Space Later

Final shuttle crew answers reporter questions
The STS-135 shuttle crew gathers in the Kibo module of the International Space Station to talk to reporters Thursday, July 14, 2011 during NASA's final shuttle flight. From left to right are Commander Chris Ferguson, Mission Specialists Rex Walheim and Sandy Magnus and Pilot Doug Hurley. (Image credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON – Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis got an extra special wakeup call from famed singer Paul McCartney today (July 15), and they plan to take another big call from President Barack Obama later.

Atlantis' four astronauts were woken up this morning at 12:59 a.m. EDT (0459 GMT) to Sir Paul McCartney's song, "Good Day Sunshine." The British crooner and former Beatle also pre-recorded a special message for the shuttle crew as they begin their eighth day in orbit.

"Good morning, guys," McCartney said. "Wake up! And good luck on this, your last mission. Well done."

"Good morning, Houston, and thank you for that message," STS-135 mission specialist Rex Walheim responded. "People around the world love Paul McCartney's music, and you can be sure that people above the Earth love his music too." [Astronaut Rock: NASA's Final Space Shuttle Wakeup Songs]

Today, the astronauts will speak to reporters in a series of live interviews, and then together with their station counterparts will hold a joint crew news conference. The station will also receive a special call from the White House at 12:29 p.m. EDT (1629 GMT).

Atlantis' crew was given an extra 30 minutes to sleep this morning after being woken up yesterday by an alarm that signaled that one of the computers onboard the shuttle had failed. Commander Chris Ferguson worked for about 45 minutes to transfer the computer's systems to another workstation.

This morning, Ferguson and pilot Doug Hurley spent time troubleshooting the glitch and were able to recover the computer that failed the night before. Mission Control is currently evaluating the data to evaluate the cause of the problem.

"The good news is we have five [computers on the shuttle]," Ferguson said this morning in live radio interviews with reporters. "Each and every one can fly the space shuttle just fine. We got them all up and running now. We're confident we'll have all five for re-entry"

The astronauts are midway through a 13-day trip to the International Space Station to deliver a cache of spare parts, food and supplies to the orbiting lab. The shuttle Atlantis is expected to land for the final time July 21.

You can follow Staff Writer Denise Chow on Twitter @denisechow. Visit for complete coverage of Atlantis' final mission STS-135 or follow us @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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:

Denise Chow
NBC News science writer

Denise Chow is a former staff writer who then worked as assistant managing editor at Live Science before moving to NBC News as a science reporter, where she focuses on general science and climate change. She spent two years with, writing about rocket launches and covering NASA's final three space shuttle missions, before joining the Live Science team in 2013. A Canadian transplant, Denise has a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, and a master's degree in journalism from New York University. At NBC News, Denise covers general science and climate change.