New York: A Canadian astronaut has teamed up with Barenaked Ladies lead singer Ed Robertson for the first ever original track to be written and recorded in space, 402 km above the Earth aboard the International Space Station. The pair wrote the song together before the collaboration was recorded via satellite at a studio in Toronto. The song, called "I.S.S." (Is Somebody Singing) focuses on the experience of a person in space missing his loved ones on the Earth below.
Astronaut Chris Hadfield and Robertson began co-writing the song when Hadfield was still in training in Russia for his five-month mission on the ISS, 'SPACE.com' reported. The duo first met more than a decade ago when Hadfield gave the award-winning Barenaked Ladies band a tour of Mission Control in Houston. The song, mixed earlier this week, included other members of the Barenaked Ladies as well as the Wexford Gleeks, a youth choir from the Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts.
Hadfield performed from the cupola, which is an observation deck on the ISS. "Welcome to the cupola. I'm ready to play a little music," Hadfield said, clutching a guitar, in a video of the song recording. "Indeed. Your scenery looks a little nicer than ours," Robertson responded from the studio". Hadfield then proudly showed off his guitar pick, to which Robertson quipped: "I know, yours matches your mission patch."
As the collaborators sang, Hadfield periodically looked up through the cupola windows to gaze at Earth. Robertson said the work of writing the song mostly went smoothly between himself and the orbiting astronaut despite the great distance. The exception came when they were finalising the chorus. "It's a line in the chorus that I wrote, 'If you could see our nation from the International Space Station.' Chris always felt that it was a real mouthful, and it is a real mouthful, but that's what's cool about it," wrote Robertson on a blog for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Hadfield is reportedly working on making enough songs for an album - in between his other duties on station. Hadfield is not the first musical astronaut to perform on the space station. In April 2011, NASA astronaut Cady Coleman collaborated with Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson on the ground to play the band's song "Bourree" over a satellite connection.