Kraftwerk jam with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station

  • 22/07/2018

Video posted Saturday by the European Space Agency shows German astronaut Alexander Gerst "dropping in" for a live performance from the International Space Station (ISS).

Using a tablet computer with a virtual synthesiser, Gerst played a duet of Kraftwerk's 1978 song 'Spacelab' with the band Friday night to cheers from the audience.

"The ISS is a 'Man Machine', the most complex and valuable machine humankind has ever built," said Gerst. The Man-Machine is one of Kraftwerk's most beloved albums, released in their native Germany as Die Mensch-Maschine.

"Here in the European Columbus laboratory, the successor to the Spacelab, the European Space Agency is carrying out research that will improve daily life on Earth," Gerst continued.

"More than 100 different nations work together peacefully here and achieve things that a single nation could never achieve. We are developing technologies on board the ISS to grow beyond our current horizons and prepare to take further steps into space to the moon and to Mars."

He's not the first space musician. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded a cover of David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' and played a duet with the Barenaked Ladies while 400km above the Earth in 2013.

American astronaut Ron McNair planned to play saxophone from orbit with Jean Michel Jarre in 1986, but died in the Challenger tragedy.

Kraftwerk are considered the godfathers of electronic music, having forged a path forward in the 1970s with albums like Autobahn and Trans Europa Express.


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