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'Out of this world' tribute to human spaceflight

Last updated on: April 12, 2011 09:42 IST

'Out of this world' tribute to human spaceflight

NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman has staged an "out of this world" concert, literally to salute 50 years of human spaceflight and the anniversary of the first launch of a human to space. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin completed that milestone on April 12, 1961

Harmony reached new heights recently as Coleman, circling Earth aboard the International Space Station, and musician Ian Anderson, founder of the rock band Jethro Tull, collaborated for the first space-Earth duet. 

Coleman, an amateur flutist, and Anderson played a portion of the song "Bourree," an arrangement of which Anderson and Jethro Tull performed during their 1969 US tour as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the moon.

Coleman played her part from 220 miles above Earth late last week. Anderson played his part while on tour in Perm, Russia, during the weekend. The two parts were then joined. 

"Thanks Col Catherine Coleman in the International Space Station," Anderson said, following the performance. "We should remember that today's cosmonauts, scientists and astronauts are still every bit the rocket heroes they were 50 years ago." 

Coleman is an avid fan of Anderson's and carried one of his flutes with her for a six-month stay aboard the station, along with her own instrument. She also carried a penny whistle and Irish flute from members of the musical group The Chieftans. 

"It is really different to play up here," Coleman said earlier during her stay on the station. "I've been having the nicest time up in our cupola. I float around in there. A lot of the times I play with my eyes closed."