The First “Wake Up Call” Played To Astronauts Was?
Answer: Hello Dolly
Wake up calls are songs sent from Mission Control to astronauts in space. This practice is now a firmly enmeshed part of NASA culture, but it wasn’t always so. The very first wake up call was broadcast in December of 1965, transmitted to the astronauts Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford. The pair were on their way to conduct the first capsule-to-capsule rendezvous between two NASA spacecraft, Gemini 6 and Gemini 7, seen here, and Mission Control treated them to a surprise rendition of the classic show tune Hello Dolly sung by crooner Jack Jones.
Or, more specifically, it was better than just hearing a song over the intercom since the lyrics had been rewritten as a personal address to the two astronauts, including lines like “Wally, it’s so nice to know you’re up where you belong.” and “So sit back with the wax, fellows, settle down and relax, fellows. / We’ll see you down in Houston town again.”
In fact, the mission was notable not just for one space related music milestone, but two: fans of our trivia column will recall that Schirra and Stafford set another (however tiny) space exploration milestone when they transmitted a rendition of Jingle Bells down to Earth to celebrate Christmas.
Image courtesy of NASA.