Skip to main content

Elton John rocked out to wake the space shuttle Atlantis crew

STS 135 crew atlantis nasaThis morning, the crew of the space shuttle Atlantis woke not to the buzzing of their space clocks nor to the ringing of their space phones. Instead, they were serenaded awake by the sweet, sweet crooning of Elton John. Suitably, he played “Rocket Man.”

After jamming out through the chorus for about a minute, Sir Elton had a quick message for people involved with the mission. “Good morning, Atlantis, this is Elton John,” he said. “We wish you much success on your mission. A huge thank you to all the men and women at NASA who worked on the shuttle for the last three decades.”

The Atlantis responded in good humor: “Good morning Houston. Wow, Elton John. That is absolutely fantastic. We are absolutely honored that you took the time to join the crew this morning and wake us up. We invited the [International] Space Station crew over here and we’re all over to enjoy the occasion. I think it just illustrates the far-reaching legendary 30 years of shuttle flight and also the amount of people globally that have been affected by the shuttle program itself. Thank you Elton, for taking again the time to join us and it’s great to be here and it’s great to be in space.”

“Rocket Man” debuted in 1972, making it about a decade older than the space shuttle. According to NASA, the song “describes a long-term space bound astronaut’s mixed feelings at leaving his family to do his job,” and has been used four times to wake crews aboard either the Discovery or Atlantis, although there’s no word on whether they were live performances like today’s. It’s certainly not the first time NASA has had celebrities on the radio.

The performance will most likely prove to be the highlight of a day dedicated to moving boxes. The Atlantis and ISS Expedition 28 crews will continue unloading the Rafaello multi-purpose module on board the shuttle, which delivered about 9,400 pounds of gear to the ISS, including more than a ton of food which NASA says is enough to sustain the station’s operations for a year.

Derek Mead
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Meet the game-changing pitching robot that can perfectly mimic any human throw
baseball hitter swings and misses

Who’s your favorite baseball pitcher? Shane McClanahan? Sandy Alcantara? Justin Verlander? Whoever you said, two of the top sports-tech companies in the U.S. -- Rapsodo and Trajekt Sports -- have teamed up to build a robot version of them, and the results are reportedly uncannily accurate.

Okay, so we’re not talking about walking-talking-pitching standalone robots, as great a sci-fi-tinged MLB ad as that would be. However, Rapsodo and Trajekt have combined their considerable powers to throw a slew of different technologies at the problem of building a machine that's able to accurately simulate the pitching style of whichever player you want to practice batting against -- and they may just have pulled it off, too.

Read more
The best portable power stations
EcoFlow DELTA 2 on table at campsite for quick charging.

Affordable and efficient portable power is a necessity these days, keeping our electronic devices operational while on the go. But there are literally dozens of options to choose from, making it abundantly difficult to decide which mobile charging solution is best for you. We've sorted through countless portable power options and came up with six of the best portable power stations to keep your smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets functioning while living off the grid.
The best overall: Jackery Explorer 1000

Jackery has been a mainstay in the portable power market for several years, and today, the company continues to set the standard. With three AC outlets, two USB-A, and two USB-C plugs, you'll have plenty of options for keeping your gadgets charged.

Read more
CES 2023: HD Hyundai’s Avikus is an A.I. for autonomous boat and marine navigation
Demonstration of NeuBoat level 2 autonomous navigation system at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

This content was produced in partnership with HD Hyundai.
Autonomous vehicle navigation technology is certainly nothing new and has been in the works for the better part of a decade at this point. But one of the most common forms we see and hear about is the type used to control steering in road-based vehicles. That's not the only place where technology can make a huge difference. Autonomous driving systems can offer incredible benefits to boats and marine vehicles, too, which is precisely why HD Hyundai has unveiled its Avikus AI technology -- for marine and watercraft vehicles.

More recently, HD Hyundai participated in the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, to demo its NeuBoat level 2 autonomous navigation system for recreational boats. The name mashes together the words "neuron" and "boat" and is quite fitting since the Avikus' A.I. navigation tech is a core component of the solution, it will handle self-recognition, real-time decisions, and controls when on the water. Of course, there are a lot of things happening behind the scenes with HD Hyundai's autonomous navigation solution, which we'll dive into below -- HD Hyundai will also be introducing more about the tech at CES 2023.

Read more