Name That Tune

Have you voted yet for your favorite wakeup song in NASA’s Top 40 song contest? The publicis picking their favorite wakeup songs to be played during the STS-133shuttle mission. I voted today, but it wasn’t an easy decision by far.There are so many good songs on the list — “Drops of Jupiter,” “Rocket Man,”and “Free Fallin” were a few I was drawn to immediately. I also liked“Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down; it just seemed like a great high-energy song towake up to and to put you in a feel-good mood to start your day.

The song I chose, though, was influenced by the audio clipon the contest website. When you go to vote, make sure you click and listen tothe audio clips with each choice. The sound bites are clips from when the songswere played on earlier missions and include the wakeup song and communicationsbetween the shuttle crew and Mission Control.

Astronaut Scott Parazynski on a spacewalk repairing a solar wing Source:
Mission Specialist ScottParazynski rides at the end of the boom
toward the rip in the solar wing. Imagecredit: NASA

My vote was for the theme song from the Star Wars trilogy,played for astronaut Scott Parazynski during the STS-120 mission. I chose itbecause it was the wakeup song played on the day Parazynski made one of themost exciting spacewalks in spacewalking history. After the song is played,Parazynski mentions the upcoming spacewalk and his son, Luke:

“That was a wonderful way to wake up, and I just have tosay, ‘Luke, I’m your father. Use the Force, Luke.’ That’s music from my sonLuke, and I’ll be thinking about him today and the rest of my family as I goout and do this wonderful spacewalk with my good buddy Wheels (Doug Wheelock)here and all the great support from the rest of my crew … This is going to be abig day for NASA.”

On this day, Parazynski repaired a torn solar array whilepositioned on the end of a boom normally used to inspect the space shuttle. Theboom was attached to the end of the space station’s robotic arm. According tothe post-mission overview, compared to spacewalks practiced on Earth, this wasuncharted territory. Riding at the end of the boom, it took Parazynski about anhour and a half to reach the worksite, located about 165 feet down thestation’s truss and 90 feet out on the damaged the solar wing. He used toolsinsulated with tape to protect him against electrical currents produced by thearray.

I had the privilege of interviewing Parazynski back in 2006,before the STS-120 mission, and writing the feature “LivingHis Dream” about his childhood dream to become an astronaut, his trainingfor STS-120, and his 1998 flight with the first American to orbit Earth, JohnGlenn. So my vote was swayed by the awesomeness of the Star Wars theme song,but also by the personal connection to an astronaut I’ve interviewed before andthe amazing STS-120 spacewalk. (I also thought the movie quote to his son Lukewas rather fun.)

More than 2 million people have voted, but there is stillplenty of time left to have your say. Cast your vote now through the missionlaunch date, currently scheduled for Nov. 1, 2010. The two songs with the mostvotes will be announced during the mission, along with the dates and times thatthe winning songs will be played.

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