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Astronaut Jams With 'Astrolung'

Col. Catherine Coleman and Ian Anderson
Col. Catherine Coleman and Ian Anderson

April 14, 2011 —NASA astronaut and accomplished flautist Col. Catherine Coleman joined rock legend Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull in the first-ever Space Flute Duet last week in honor of Yuri Gagarin’s historic space flight 50 years ago. Coleman, who is stationed on the International Space Station, broke into an arrangement of Bach’s Bourrée in E minor, which was also on Tull’s 1969 album, Stand Up.

A video of the cosmic mash-up was posted earlier this week showing Coleman playing in ISS weightlessness 220 miles above Earth. Anderson joins mid-verse, playing from Perm, Russia.

“Thanks Col. Catherine Coleman in the International Space Station,” Anderson said following the performance. “We should remember that today’s cosmonauts, scientists, and astronauts are still every bit the rocket heroes they were 50 years ago.”

Coleman, an avid fan of Anderson’s, took one of his flutes with her for a six-month stay aboard the station along with her own instrument.

“It is really different to play up here,” Coleman said earlier during her stay on the station. “I’ve been having the nicest time up in our cupola. I float around in there. A lot of the times I play with my eyes closed.”

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