Thirty Seconds to Mars Launching Single to Space Station on SpaceX Rocket

Thirty Seconds to Mars launching Up in the Air album into space.
Thirty Seconds to Mars' single art for "Up in the Air." The first copy of the new song is being launched to the International Space Station on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. On March 1, 2013. (Image credit: Thirty Seconds to Mars)

It's more than half-a-minute away and not quite the Red Planet, but the International Space Station is about to play host to Thirty Seconds to Mars.

The American rock band, fronted by actor Jared Leto, is sending their first new single in four years to the orbiting laboratory on Space Exploration Technologies' (SpaceX) Dragon capsule as part of a cargo mission contracted by NASA. The first copy of "Up in the Air" — Thirty Seconds to Mars' first single from the band's fourth studio record — will lift off with more than 1,200 pounds (540 kilograms) of science experiments and crew supplies on Friday (March 1) at 10:10 a.m. EST (1510 GMT).

The band, who will be at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch the launch, will visit Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston on March 18 where they will take part in a question and answer session with Expedition 35 flight engineer and NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn live from onboard the space station. The orbital downlink will serve to "launch" the music single on Earth, which will premiere worldwide that day and be available at all digital retailers the following day, March 19.

Thirty Seconds to Mars are just the latest musicians to interact with the space station's residents. The astronauts recently spoke with singer Peter Gabriel and Expedition 35 commander and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield collaborated with Ed Robertson, the frontman of the band Barenaked Ladies, to record the first duet of an original song performed simultaneously in space and on the ground.

The SpaceX mission carrying the copy of "Up in the Air" is the second of 12 unmanned resupply flights contracted by NASA using the California company's Falcon 9 rockets and Dragon capsules. The private spacecraft is part of a new fleet of U.S. commercial vehicles that are taking the place of NASA's now retired space shuttle program.

Thirty Seconds to Mars — comprising brothers Jared and Shannon Leto, as well as Tomo Milicevic — has sold over five million albums worldwide and the band's videos have more than 300 million views on YouTube. During the 2009 release of their previous album, "This is War," the group broke the Guinness World Record for most shows played during a single album cycle.

Follow collectSPACE on Facebook and Twitter @collectSPACE and editor Robert Pearlman @robertpearlman. Copyright 2012 All rights reserved.

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Robert Z. Pearlman Editor, Contributor

Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.