By at 1:24 PM Thursday, January 9th 2014


The Astronauts Have a DJ, and This is What You’ll Hear on Space Radio

Space, Music, Science


“Think of the space shuttle as a high-tech road trip with a difference: You can’t get out until the trip is over, pot and beer are forbidden, and 125 miles straight down, somebody who isn’t even traveling with you gets to pick what’s on the tape deck.” Worst tour bus ever? Music selected by ground control are your wake-up calls in space, and here’s a starchy, but interesting read on the music that has been employed over the years.

You don’t want to play a dirge or something uninspiring. You want to get them going in the morning.” Consequently, the selections are usually benign – it’s considered poor form, and possibly dangerous, to freak out a sleeping astronaut with Rob Zombie or Eminem. But the DJs at mission control have been known to exhibit a mischievous streak. Once, to the crew’s sleepy confusion, Hadfield chose the booming half-U2 version of the Mission: Impossible theme.

…Since [1975], more anthemic fare has prevailed: the theme from Rocky (1984), Bohemian Rhapsody (1989), and the Star Wars theme (1993). The ’93 Columbia shuttle mission had better luck with hip reveilles including the Thompson Twins’ Doctor! Doctor! and R.E.M.’s Shiny Happy People. (It would be a different playlist if DJs did a set at mission control. Moby told Details he would play the Clash’s six-gunning version of I Fought The Law, and a little Bach or Hendrix. Master mixologist Armand Van Helden would spin Steve Miller’s Fly Like An Eagle [what, no Space Cowboy?] and David Bowie’s Space Oddity. Mr. Space Oddity himself would choose Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians.)

WFMU always shares cool shit.


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