The first time music came down from space was more than 50 years ago, and the recording artists were Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford, the crew of Gemini 6. Schirra and Stafford were orbiting Earth during Christmas season, flying tandem with Jim Lovell and Frank Borman aboard Gemini 7. As Gemini 6 was peeling off to come home, Schirra announced that he had spotted a UFO flying in a low orbit near the North Pole. Before NASA or the Strategic Air Command could sound the alert, a tinny rendition of Jingle Bells—performed on a smuggled harmonica and a small set of bells—filled the headsets in Mission Control. The little performance lives on in an audio NASA later released.
Space music took a huge leap forward in 2013, when Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who had brought his guitar with him aboard the Internal Space Station (ISS), recorder his own performance of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” His son Evan then cut the performance into a music video, which immediately went viral.
Now French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, musician Pierre-Alexandre Busson — who performs under the name Yuskek — and director Jérôme de Gerlache have added to the oeuvre, with the release of the music video of Yuskek’s new song “Live Alone.” The song is solid enough, but the video gives it additional dimension, cutting back and forth between Yuskek in the studio and Pesquet in the ISS as they both go about their work, which at times looks strikingly similar.
One ironic difference stands out though: Yuskek, in the video, is indeed living — or at least working — alone. Presquet is soaring through the modules and nodes of the giant ISS, a home he shares with a multinational crew of five. The music has changed a lot since the days of Gemini 6; the spacecraft have changed even more.