First Music Live from Space by Wally Schirra & Thomas Stafford
December 16, 1965, Gemini 5

On December 16, 1965,  NASA's Gemini 6 astronauts Walter M. "Wally" Schirra Jr. and Thomas P. Stafford conducted the first live musical performance from space. Using a smuggled (reportedly) mini harmonica (Hohner #39 Little Lady) and some reindeer bells, Schirra and Stafford, respectively, radioed a 'UFO' report saying "Gemini VII, this is Gemini VI. We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, up in a polar orbit. He's in a very low trajectory traveling from north to south and has a very high climbing ratio. It looks like it might even be a ... Very low. Looks like he might be going to reenter soon. Stand by one ... You might just let me try to pick up that thing." [see NASA transcript, 23:57:30] Just before reentry into the Earth's atmosphere for a splashdown, the two pranksters then broke out in a round of "Jingle Bells." This being the first flight where the astronauts removed their helmets and relied on capsule pressurization and oxygen allowed the performance to happen.

See the TV Guide announcement of regular programming preempting for Gemini 7 launch coverage and the docking with Gemini 6A..

Hohner Harmonica Ad Commemorating Wally Schirra's Playing of Jingle Bells from Mercury 6A (Wikipedia image) - Airplanes and Rockets  Hohner Harmonica and Bells from Gemini 6A Jingle Bells (Smithsonian image) - Airplanes and Rockets

Gemini 6A Astronauts Play Jingle Bells from Space



Posted January 25, 2014