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Forum:Space Shuttles - Space Station
Topic:ISS 26: Cady Coleman plays flute on station
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Coleman has four flutes to pick from aboard the space station.

"I brought my own flute with me but I also brought some other flutes," Coleman told NPR. "I have a penny whistle from Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains and also a very old Irish flute from Matt Molloy of The Chieftains. And I have a flute from Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. So a pretty well-rounded spectrum and I am having a great time up here with them."

When on the ground, Coleman plays flute with the Celtic band Clan Ceili and with Bandella, a folk quartet with fellow astronauts Chris Hadfield and Steve Robinson, and Micki Pettit, wife of astronaut Don Pettit.

domThe first "International Space Session"
ejectrI'm blown away! If the "neat little company in Massachusetts" is Verne Q. Powel Flutes in Maynard, MA, they make their flutes on the machines I sell.

I actually visited them a couple weeks ago and talked to them today. I bet they didn't even know it.

Fezman92Wasn't a flute played on the shuttle before? I recall seeing a photo of an astronaut playing a flute.
Originally posted by ejectr:
If the "neat little company in Massachusetts" is Verne Q. Powel Flutes...
I have it from an extremely reliable source that the flute is indeed a Verne Q. Powel flute.
music_spaceIn the above video, she first plays Canadian folk singer Stan Rogers' "Bluenose" about the famous Canadian schooner, then Leonard Cohen's "Halleluia" (as she did at the final pre-launch press conference). She likes Canadian music!
Mike Dixon
Originally posted by Fezman92:
Wasn't a flute played on the shuttle before?
Yep, Ellen Ochoa on STS-56.
Fezman92Apart from flutes and guitars, have any other instruments been played in space?
brianjbradleyAstronaut Ron McNair played his saxophone on 41B. He even recorded his music but that was accidentally erased. He had hoped to carry his sax on 51L but that request was denied.

There is a keyboard on the International Space Station, although the last time I saw it, it was on a video tour during STS-121 in 2006 with astronaut Lisa Nowak tickling the ivories.

daboltonI wonder if there is any difference in how she has to blow air from her lungs.
Fezman92That would be an interesting experiment along with how microgravity affects the valve oil and slide grease of brass instruments.

I have a trumpet that I would be glad to let NASA use.

Robert PearlmanNASA feature
Astronaut Cady Coleman Shares Her Love of the Flute from Space

Astronaut Cady Coleman took time during an interview with reporters to play her flute onboard the International Space Station.

"I play the flute on the ground and it’s one of the things I love to do," said Coleman during an interview with National Public Radio. "One of the things that I think is important to do is to try to share how amazing it is up here. I relate to flute players and I just wanted them to understand what a cool place it was and how many possibilities there were to play music up here on the space station."

Coleman brought with her to the station four flute-like instruments in her small allotment of personal items. The collection includes two items from the traditional Irish music group The Chieftains - a penny whistle, which is similar to a recorder, from group-leader Paddy Moloney and a very old Irish flute from Matt Molloy. There is also a flute from Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and her own personal flute aboard.

"It is really different to play up here," Coleman added. "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."

During the NPR interview she played Bluenose by Stan Rogers on her personal flute. She also played a tune for the following interview with Houston’s KHOU-TV.

Other astronauts have flown flutes in space aboard the space shuttle. Ellen Ochoa, who is a classical flutist, brought her flute on STS-56 in 1993 and took a moment to play it during an educational event. John Herrington, who was the first tribal registered Native American astronaut, brought a wooden flute with him on STS-113 in 2002. The flute was hand-carved by a member of the Kennedy Space Center Native American Intertribal Council.

Robert Pearlman
Originally posted by dabolton:
I wonder if there is any difference in how she has to blow air from her lungs.
Inside the station, where the atmosphere is kept at sea level pressure (14.7 psi), there should be little to no difference. Were Coleman however, to try playing one of her flutes (perhaps the penny whistle) inside her pressurized spacesuit, she'd have a difficult time. In fact, she wouldn't even be able to muster an unaided whistle.
"You can't whistle because the air pressure in the suit is only 4.3 [pounds per square inch], and normal atmospheric pressure is 14.7 psi, so there are not enough air molecules blowing by your lips to make a sound." — former astronaut Dan Barry, in a 2007 interview with ABC News.
Originally posted by Fezman92:
Apart from flutes and guitars, have any other instruments been played in space?

And I believe the most famous example would have to be the guitar that served as the center of entertainment for cosmonauts and astronauts aboard Mir.

I believe the guitar went down with its ship ten years ago next month.

Robert PearlmanAnd here's the proof that cS'ers are not the only ones geeky enough to wonder if this was the first flute performance from space, or what other instruments have flown, or what astronauts do in their free time. From tonight's Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC...

Robert PearlmanNASA release (April 11, 2011)
NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman, Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson Perform First Space-Earth Flute Duet

Harmony reached new heights recently as NASA astronaut Cady 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 U.S. 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.

Coleman and Anderson's performance saluted 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.

"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."

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