NASA Turns to Public for Final Shuttle Wakeup Songs

Even if you can't be a rocketman, perhaps you can recommend the Elton John classic to NASA's final space shuttle flight crews.

Ground Control to John Q. Public: If you're interested in influencing the soundtrack to NASA's final two space shuttle missions, listen up. For the first time, the space agency is turning to the public to help choose songs to wake up the astronauts during the last two scheduled shuttle missions. Traditionally, friends and family of the crews select the songs played to wake up the astronauts, but for the last two scheduled missions, NASA is inviting the public to visit the Wakeup Song Contest Website to select songs from a list of the top 40 previous wakeup calls or to submit original tunes for consideration.

The two songs with the most votes from the top 40 list will be played as crew wakeup calls on the final scheduled flight of space shuttle Discovery. Discovery's STS-133 mission is targeted to launch on Nov. 1, according to the space agency. "We're looking forward to hearing which songs the public wants played for us," said STS-133 Commander Steve Lindsey. "It's going to be a difficult choice, because there have been so many great songs played over the years."

According to NASA, original songs must have a space theme and be submitted to NASA by 4 p.m. Central Time on Jan. 10, 2011. Then, agency officials will review the songs and the top finalists put to a public vote. The top two songs will be used to wake space shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 crew. Endeavour's mission is the last scheduled space shuttle flight and is targeted to launch on Feb. 26, 2011.

"Space shuttle crews really enjoy the morning wake-up music," STS-134 Commander Mark Kelly said. "While we don't have the best quality speaker in the space shuttle, it will be interesting to hear what the public comes up with. We are looking forward to it."

During space shuttle Discovery's final spaceflight, the STS-133 crewmembers will take spare parts to the International Space Station (ISS) along with the Express Logistics Carrier-4. Discovery is being readied for flight inside Kennedy's Orbiter Processing Facility-3 while its solid rocket boosters are stacked inside the nearby Vehicle Assembly Building, according to NASA documents. Technicians are currently running leak checks on space shuttle Discovery's two orbital maneuvering system pods today. The pods, known best by their acronym OMS, are mounted on the back of the shuttle above the three main engines and house the largest of the shuttle's on-orbit thrusters.