Another First for the American Space Program


The first musical instruments played in space -- now on display at the Smithsonian Institution
The first musical instruments played in space — now on display at the Smithsonian Institution

On December 16, 1965, astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra were on Gemini 6 when they transmitted the following message: “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.”

The astronauts then played Jingle Bells on a harmonica and bells, thus earning their place in history for playing the first musical instruments in space.

You can hear a recording of the transmission here.

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