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Elton John's 'Rocket Man' awakens space crew

Wednesday 13 July 2011 00:00 BST

Singer Elton John's "Rocket Man" was played Wednesday to wake up the crew aboard the International Space Station, with the shuttle Atlantis docked on its last mission.

"I think it's going to be a long, long time," echoed the recording of the hit song, first released in 1972, at the ISS at 2:29 am (0629 GMT), NASA said.

The lyrics, based on a short story by Ray Bradbury and which describe the feelings of an astronaut bound for a long-distance mission to Mars, were followed by a pre-recorded message from the 64-year-old British singer.

"Good morning, Atlantis, this is Elton John. 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 message said.

The song has previously been played to wake up a shuttle crew four times in the program's 30 year history, NASA said.

The four US astronauts on Atlantis's STS-135 mission are spending their day working with the Expedition 28 crew of six already aboard the ISS to transfer equipment and supplies from the Raffaello multi-purpose module.

The crew was a little more than one-quarter of the way through unpacking the logistics carrier, which arrived aboard the Atlantis with 9,403 pounds (4,300 kilograms) of supplies to restock the orbiting outpost for the coming year.

The shuttle is set to return to Earth on July 21, marking the official end of the US program.


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