Geek Trivia

What Was The First Song Performed In Space?

The Star-Spangled Banner
Jingle Bells
Space Oddity
Amazing Grace
Cookie Monster's Real Name Is?

Answer: Jingle Bells

On December 16, 1965, the crew of Gemini 6 added a bit of holiday cheer and a historic space exploration milestone to the NASA archives.

Mission specialists back at Cape Canaveral were monitoring the flight when Astronauts Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford lit up the com-link with a report of an object sighting: “We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, probably in polar orbit…. Looks like he might be going to reenter soon…. You just might let me pick up that thing…. I see a command module and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit.” After a pause Schirra reported “Stand by, he’s trying to signal something.” We’re sure there was a tense moment down below as their terrestrial handlers looked at each other whispering “Object sighting? He’s trying to signal? Wait… a red suit?”

The com-link lit up again and the folks down at mission control were treated to the first ever song performed in space. Schirra and Stafford had smuggled a harmonica and string of sleigh bells onto the flight and, with the kind of zero-gravity flair only the first astronaut performers could muster, they whipped out a quick rendition of the holiday classic Jingle Bells.

You can read more about the historic mission and the story behind the first song performed in space in the Smithsonian Magazine here. Thanks to the efforts of curious space enthusiasts, the original recording was unearthed and is available for your listening pleasure here.