In Brief

Robin Williams Remembered: Watch Him Make NASA Laugh in 1988 (Video)

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 partner "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]

NASA officials in Mission Control laugh as a recorded wakeup call from actor Robin Williams is broadcast to the space shuttle Discovery during the STS-26 mission in 1988. (Image credit:

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.

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Miriam Kramer
Staff Writer

Miriam Kramer joined as a Staff Writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also served as's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight.  Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. Miriam is currently a space reporter with Axios, writing the Axios Space newsletter. You can follow Miriam on Twitter.