A new music video by a Beatles tribute band celebrates a huge cargo ship's arrival at the International Space Station today (March 28) and sends a musical greeting to the orbiting lab's six-astronaut crew.
Dutch band Love & Mersey recorded the video, which is called "Back at the ISS" (a play on The Beatles' rollicking song "Back in the USSR"). It welcomes the European Space Agency's third Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-3), which is slated to dock with the space station today at 6:32 p.m. EDT (2232 GMT).
The unmanned ATV-3 — nicknamed "Edoardo Amaldi" after a celebrated Italian physicist — will deliver 7 tons of food, water, fuel and other supplies to the space station. Dutch astronaut André Kuipers and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko will keep a close eye on the docking, helping ensure that everything goes as planned.
"We wanted to do a song that celebrates André, who is Dutch and on his second space mission, and Oleg, who is Russian and will work closely with André during ATV docking," band member Jan Hovers said in a statement.
The new video also serves as a greeting to the orbiting outpost's entire crew, which includes Russians Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin and NASA astronauts Dan Burbank and Don Pettit. To celebrate the station's diversity and spirit of international cooperation, "Back at the ISS" includes lyrics in English, Dutch and Russian.
The video has gotten a warm reception from the spaceflyers.
“Thank you, Love & Mersey. 'Back at the ISS' is a wonderful gift to music lovers everywhere, and I hope that it inspires young people to follow studies that take them into space one day, too," Kuipers said.
The video was first released via the European Space Agency's (ESA) YouTube and social media channels on Friday (March 23) after ATV-3 launched. It was also released on Love & Mersey's website, and has since been viewed several thousand times, ESA officials said. [Dazzling Night Launch Photos of Europe's ATV-3]
"We were approached by ESA's social media team earlier this year, and they asked us if we could sing something in three languages for André and Oleg on the occasion of ATV docking," lead singer Marcel van der Linden said. "It took a lot of work, but we were really inspired by the incredible partnerships we see today between Europeans, Americans, Russians and others in space."
The video for "Back at the ISS" was shot at SpaceExpo, which serves as a visitor center for ESTEC, ESA's technical center in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. It also includes ESA and NASA footage of the space station's Expeditions 30 and 31, historic space footage from the 1960s and the band's own video clips, officials said.
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