Astronaut musicians create a show that’s out of this world

Astronauts have been making music in orbit for almost 60 years, but at least some of the members of a band called Bandella prefer to think of themselves as musicians who just happened to become astronauts.

“We were musicians before we got into the astronaut corps,” one of the band’s founders, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, told me.

Bandella’s Seattle concerts, set for July 29 at the Museum of Flight, won’t be your typical summer music tour. The event will feature some space-themed tunes — including David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” which went viral when Hadfield recorded a tribute performance on the International Space Station in 2013. There’ll also be a Q&A session during which the musicians recount their experiences in space.

Hadfield said it’s only natural that astronauts bring music with them when they go into orbit. “We’re just people, multifaceted,” he said. “And when you’re a long way from home, you know, you need art and music in amongst all the busyness.”

It’s also natural for astronauts to share their out-of-this-world experiences via the creative channels that they’ve developed throughout their lives. “A lot of it goes back to when you have been so incredibly lucky to have had the experiences that the members of the band have had. What do you do with those experiences? How do you explain it, and make it part of your own life, and not just a weird perturbation?” Hadfield said.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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