Shuttle Countdown T-8 Days: Playlist For Last Flight Of Atlantis

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Music has been the astronauts’ wake-up call on space missions for decades, starting back when Apollo astronauts were serenaded with popular songs by mission control colleagues. Some rollicking travel music should wake the crew of the mythically-named Atlantis, now taking the final flight of NASA’s storied space shuttle program. We here at GeekMom have suggestions.

Sarah Pinault suggests “Vincent by Don McLean, a song written to honor Vincent Van Gogh. The opening lines are particularly appropriate.

starry night
paint your palette blue and grey


Melissa Wiley insists that the theme song of Greatest American Hero, “Believe It Or Not by Joey Scarbury is a tongue-in-cheek recommendation.

Believe it or not, I’m walking on air…
I never thought I could feel so free
Flying away on a wing and a prayer
Who could it be? Believe it or not,
it’s just me.

If we’re being serious, Melissa prefers the crew of Atlantis wakes to “Into The Mystic by Van Morrison.

We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic

Jenn Tylbon also jumps in with two selections. First, “The Final Countdown” by Europe.

I guess there is no one to blame
We’re leaving ground
Will things ever be the same again?

Additionally Jenn suggests, a little more vehemently, “Supermassive Black Hole” by Muse. She says she’d wake up to anything by Muse.

Glaciers melting in the dead of night
And the superstars sucked into the supermassive
(You set my soul alight)

Patricia Vollmer named her blog after “Space Oddity” by David Bowie, saying “I know it gets a little sad at the end, but Major Tom has some beautiful lines at the beginning describing space and the peace it brings.”

Here am I floating round my tin can
Far above the Moon.
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do.

Andrea Schwalm says it would have to be this Bowie original, “Life on Mars” by David Bowie, particularly poignant now that the shuttle program is ending so NASA can better focus on developing new spacecraft for exploration beyond low-Earth orbit. Perhaps missions to Mars.

He’s in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?

Jules suggests our astronauts listen to “High” by Jeff MacDougall, a musical re-telling of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”

I’m high!
can you see me?
I’m the blink in the night sky

Jules also offers another piece by independent musicians,  “Columbia” by Duality.

They take that one small step for man
and the race for space is won
by America’s new favourite sons

Cindy Ortiz says, I’m gonna have to go Spanish and choose “Espacio Sideral by Jesse y Joy

Quisiera darte el mundo entero;
la luna, el cielo, el sol y el mar.
Regalarte las estrellas en una caja de cristal.
Llevarte al espacio sideral y volar como lo hace Superman.
Quisiera ser un super héroe y protegerte contra el mal.
Regalarte la vía láctea en un plato de cereal.

Translation: I wanna give you the whole world;
the moon, the sky, the sun and the ocean.
Give you the stars in a crystal box.
Take you to the sidereal space and fly like Superman.
I wanna be a superhero and protect you against evil.
Give you the Milky Way in a bowl of cereal…

Helene McLaughlin recommends a newly released single, “Good Morning Moon,” written by Marian Call specifically as a wake up song for the astronauts.

Good mornin’ moon, Love
How you doin;
I’ve got business with you today.

Helene also suggests the ever cheerful “Here Comes The Sun by the Beatles

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Kathy Ceceri says her family appreciates kids’ musician Tom Chapin. His song “This Pretty Planet” was played as the wake-up music on the space shuttle Discovery back in 1998.

This pretty planet
Spinning through space,
You’re a garden,
You’re a harbor,
You’re a holy place.

Kathy also recommends Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens (Yusef Islam). The now-familiar music is from a traditional Gaelic tune with lyrics from old hymnal.

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word.

Nicole Wakelin prefers “Interplanet Janet” from the old Schoolhouse Rock because, “I wanted to fly through space like that as a kid.  Okay, I still do.”

Interplanet Janet, she’s a galaxy girl,
A solar system Ms. from a future world,
She travels like a rocket with her comet team
And there’s never been a planet Janet hasn’t seen.

Ellen Henderson wonders, “Is it too cliché to say “Also Sprach Zarathustra?”

She also recommends Gustav Holst’s “The Planets, Op. 32: IV. Jupiter – The Bringer of Jollity,” saying, “I like Jupiter — big and bombastic for a startling yet majestic wake-up.”

Here are a few more recommendations.

Space Truckin” by Deep Purple

The fireball we rode was movin’
But now we’ve got a new machine

Hillbillies from Outer Space” by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmy Vaughn (instrumental)

Is There Love In Space” by Joe Satriani (instrumental)

Rocket Man” by Elton John (or William Shatner’s legendary version)

And all this science I don’t understand
It’s just my job, five days a week
I’m a rocket man.

Standing On The Moon” by Grateful Dead

There’s a metal flag beside me
Someone planted long ago
Old Glory standing stiffly
Crimson, white and indigo – indigo.

Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft” by Klaatu

With your mind you have ability to form
And transmit thought energy far beyond the norm
You close your eyes
You concentrate
Together that’s the way
To send the message
We declare World Contact Day.

Galaxy Song” by Eric Idle of Monty Python

Pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space
‘Cause I’m afraid we’ve been cheated here on Earth.

Flying Saucer Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Robert Gordon

Well the little green men, they were real hep-cats
Rockin’ and rollin’ doin’ their crazy flats.

Spaceman” by Harry Nilsson

You know I wanted to be a spaceman
That’s what I wanted to be
But now that I am a spaceman
Nobody cares about me.

Higher And Higher” by Moody Blues

Blasting, billowing, bursting forth
With the power of ten billion butterfly sneezes
Man with his flaming pyre
Has conquered the wayward breezes.


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5 thoughts on “Shuttle Countdown T-8 Days: Playlist For Last Flight Of Atlantis

  1. Beautiful Day by U2. There’s a set of lyrics in the song that always make me think of being in space and looking down at the Earth:

    “See the world in green and blue
    See China right in front of you
    See the canyons broken by cloud
    See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
    See the Bedouin fires at night
    See the oil fields at first light”

    (the rest of the song though, not so much…)

  2. Space captures our imaginations like nothing else. So glad music helps us evoke space flight even while we are planet-bound. Can’t wait to see what other songs are suggested.

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