First Song To Be Played In Outer Space

Chinese astonaut Wang Yaping plays flute onboard the space station
Chinese astonaut Wang Yaping plays flute onboard the space station( Source : twitter )

Which Was The First Song To Be Played In Outer Space? The first song to be played in outer space was Jingle Bells on December 6, 1965.

During the early 1960s, there was fierce competition between the United States and then-Soviet Union to conquer Space. From the first human in space to the first on the moon, the rivalry pushed technological advancements very much forward.

However, there's one unusual record, that has also made headlines, Who played the first song in outer space? There has been a huge debate surrounding this area.

While some claim it's the Americans, others argue it's the Soviets who did it first. Since then, there has been an ongoing trend of playing or sending record tracks in outer space.

Several astronauts have been involved in such practices. Starting with a harmonica onboard, Astronauts have been successful in sneaking in anything from a flute to a real-sized guitar into outer space.

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Song That Was Played In Outer Space

The First Song Broadcasted From Space was a revolutionary song "The East Is Red." This song was the national anthem of the People's Republic of China.

It was written by Li Youyuan (李有源), a farmer from Shaanbei province, while the rhythm was derived from a local song from Loess Plateau titled "Bai Ma Diao".

The song was broadcasted through China's first space satellite Dongfanhong I which was launched on April 24, 1970, as part of a bigger project "PRC Dongfanghong space satellite program". The broadcast lasted for 20 days as it orbited the Earth.

With its first introduction in 1966, the track still remains popular in Chinese culture to this date. In 2009, the song was voted the most influential patriotic song carried out by a Chinese government-run internet poll.

Story Behind Playing Song In Outer Space

The First Song Played In Space was the Christmas theme song "Jingle Bells" on December 16, 1965. It was played on a harmonica by the pilots of Gemina 6A.

It was written by the American songwriter, composer, and arranger, James Lord Pierpont, and was originally titled "The One Horse Open Sleigh".

The song was played by the American astronauts Wally Schirra and Thomas P. Stafford through an 8-note Hohner"Little Lady" harmonica, which was smuggled onboard without the knowledge of NASA personnel.

 Astronauts Thomas P. Stafford (left) and Walter M. Schirra Jr. 9 (right) were the prime crew of Gemini 6A.
Astronauts Thomas P. Stafford (left) and Walter M. Schirra Jr. 9 (right) were the prime crew of Gemini 6A.( Source : flickr )

After a successful space rendezvous of Gemini 6A with its sister ship Gemini 7 in Earth orbit, Schirra played the song jokingly claiming he saw a UFO being piloted by Santa Claus.

The song has also been included in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "First Song Played In Space".

The iconic harmonium has since been donated to the Smithsonian Museum by Schirra in 1967, along with a note stating "... plays quite well".

First Ever Song That Was Performed In Space

The first song sung from Space was Watching the Sky. It was sung by Ukrainian cosmonaut Pavlo Popovych on August 12, 1962.

The words were written by Ukrainian romantic poet Mykhailo Petrenko in 1841. It was recorded by Anatolly Solovianenko, Ivan Kozlosky, Borys Hmyria, Muslim Magomayez, and others.

Pavlo Popovych was the first person to sing in space
Pavlo Popovych was the first person to sing in space( Source : twitter )

Pavlo, who was interested in Opera, sang the song onboard the spacecraft "Vostok 3 and 4" at the special request of renowned Soviet rocket engineer and spacecraft designer, Serhiy Korolyov.

The lyrics of the Ukrainian song translates into English as follows:

Watching the sky and thinking a thought:
Why am I not a falcon? Why am I not flying?
Why, Lord, have you not granted me wings?
I would the earth forsake and fly to the heavens.

What Songs Were Played In Space?

There have been numerous Songs Played In Outer Space including Space Oddity, Life on Mars, songs from Taylor Swift's 1989 album, High Power, and more.

Here are some of the most prominent songs played through outer space throughout history:

The Fountain in the Park through Apollo 17

The crews of the Apollo 17 are the last humans to date to set foot on the moon
The crews of the Apollo 17 are the last humans to date to set foot on the moon( Source : facebook )

On the 1972 Apollo mission, a few lines from Ed Hakey's "The Fountain in the Park" were sung by NASA astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt on the Moon.

Schmitt initiated the mood by singing "I was strolling on the Moon one day..." which was joined by Cernan who continued with "Merry month of May".

Beagle 2 through British spacecraft

In 2003, after landing on the surface of Mars, the European Space Agency's Mars lander Beagle 2& was scheduled to play a song from British rock band Blur.

Unfortunately, the probe lost communication with Earth after landing in 2003. However, it was found intact in 2015, and has reportedly claimed that the song was successfully played on Christmas of 2003 but was unable to transmit the info back to its base.

Reach for the Star through Curiosity

During the landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars, Will.I.Am recorded and produced a song entitled "Reach for the Stars" to commemorate the landing.

As a result, the song became the first in history to be broadcast from another planet, having traveled more than 300 million miles from Mars to Earth.

Space Oddity by Chris Hadfield on ISS

In May 2013, the commander of Expedition 35 to the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield, recorded and performed a video of David Bowie's classic "Space Oddity".

The video gained a lot of mainstream exposure and propelled Chris to stardom. He was accompanied by an acoustic guitar and was the first music video to be recorded in space.

David Bowie's Songs on Tesla Roadster

An animated image of Tesla Roadster venturing through deep space
An animated image of Tesla Roadster venturing through deep space ( Source : twitter )

On the historic launch of Elon Musk's Falcon Heavy rocket as part of SpaceX's test flight on February 6, 2018, the sound system on board the rocket's dummy payload Tesla Roadster was looping the symbolic Bowie songs "Space Oddity" and "Life on Mars?".

Sitting on the driver's seat was a dummy astronaut in a SpaceX spacesuit, Starman, also named after David Bowie's iconic song "Starman". The mannequin had his right hand on the wheel while his left elbow rested on the window pane.

Thomas Reiter found time for his guitar on the Euromir-95 mission.
Thomas Reiter found time for his guitar on the Euromir-95 mission.( Source : facebook )

As of now, the prop vehicle has successfully made a complete lap around the sun's orbit and is still venturing around the deep dark space.

Similarly, other notable songs played outside of the Earth's atmosphere include:

  • Thomas Reiter playing guitar on the Soviet Union MIR Space Station.
  • Coldplay's single "Higher Power" premiering through the ISS
  • BTS' "Dynamite" through Danuri, Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter

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