Rockin’ Brian…


Written in galaxies. Thank you to Bizibuilder.

The first song performed in space

From Gemini 6 on 16th December 1965…

Thanks to How to Geek and buzzlab.

On December 16, 1965, while in orbit above planet Earth, the crew of Gemini 6 added another milestone to their already historic mission.

Astronauts Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford reported sighting an object, a satellite, in a “polar orbit…traveling North to South.”

“Stand by, he’s trying to signal something,” reported Schirra.

The next thing heard at Mission Control was a rendition of Jingle Bells performed by the astronauts using instruments which they had smuggled onboard.

The story is well known. The harmonica and string of bells are now housed at The Smithsonian, and the incident is believed to be the first time human beings ever played music in outer space.

But no recording of the song has ever been made available. Until now.

I’ve been looking all over the Internet for this recording for more than a year with no success. So I started asking for help.

KUOW reporter Phyllis Fletcher pointed me toward NASA’s Media Resource Center in Houston Texas.

After digging around their Web site and calling the phone tree at Johnson Space Center, I eventually reached Librarian Jody Russell. Her contacts in the Audio Department pointed me to the online archive for the entire Gemini 6 and 7 joint mission.

They narrowed it down to 8 audio files for me, which covered about 33 hours of the mission. They also provided me with links to mission transcripts that I could use as reference to find the song.

The message from NASA ended with “…it’s in there somewhere.”

And it was.


Blind Willie Johnson – 1927

Dark Was The Night – Cold Was The Ground was one of the musical tracks included on the Voyager Golden Record

Space Shuttle Discovery

Great view of Discovery’s flight deck from

Yuri Gagarin on BBC TV

At the 1961 Earls Court Russian Exhibition, Gagarin is interviewed by Richard Dimbleby and Tom Margerison of the Sunday Times. Boris Belitsky of Moscow Radio interprets.

First Orbit – the movie

First Orbit Trailer

First Orbit is a film commemorating the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gargarin‘s first spaceflight on 12th April 1961. Largely filmed from the International Space Station when it was travelling in a similar orbit to Gargarin’s it attempts to show what he would have seen. Its premiere is on YouTube on 12th April…