Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas Firsts #4 : Outer Space

"Santa sighted  in space" - WS 2017 
And today, just for something different in this line up of Christmas FIRSTS - The first song ever broadcast from outer space!
On 16 December, 1965,  that much loved Christmas carol ‘Jingle Bells” was the first song broadcast  in a “space” Christmas prank, performed by Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra, Gemini 6 astronauts as they were preparing to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
 …they sent this report to  Mission Control :
Gemini VII, this is Gemini VI. We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, up in a polar orbit. He's in a very low trajectory travelling from north to south and has a very high climbing ratio. It looks like it might even be a ... Very low. Looks like he might be going to reenter soon. Stand by one ... You might just let me try to pick up that thing.
The astronauts then produced a smuggled harmonica and sleigh bells and broadcast a rendition of "Jingle Bells.    (from Wikipedia)  And here is the recording at Jingle Bells from Gemini 6. 

This was the first recorded musical performance in space but certainly not the  most famous... 

One of the best tributes to  David Bowie (and appropriate, given his stratospheric reach) is Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s stirring rendition of the singer’s 1969 single “Space Oddity,” recorded on board the International Space Station (ISS) in 2013. Hadfield’s video of the performance made history as the  first musical recording in space and has been viewed on YouTube almost 28 million times.
Chris Hadfield - Space Oddity at International Space Station. 
And on this fourth day of Advent with thoughts of Christmas carols in space, I wish you all "Peace on Earth " this festive season. 
PS : Did you know that Jingle Bells was originally written to be sung  at Thanksgiving, and was never meant to have anything to do with Christmas? It is now the song most associated with Christmas? 

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