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STS-135 was the 135th and final mission of the American Space Shuttle program, using the orbiter Atlantis. STS-135 had a four-person crew, and launched on July 8, 2011 and landed on July 21, 2011.
On July 15th, the crew was woken up with “Good Day Sunshine” and a special message pre-recorded by Paul McCartney:
Good morning guys, wake up! And good luck on this, your last mission. Well done.Paul McCartney
Use of music to awaken astronauts on space missions dates back at least to the Apollo Program, when astronauts returning from the moon were serenaded by their colleagues in mission control with lyrics from popular songs that seemed appropriate for the occasion.
Usually picked by flight controllers or by crew members’ friends and family members, most wakeup calls are musical, but sometimes include dialog from movies or TV shows. The playlist is eclectic, ranging from rock, country, classical, bluegrass and jazz, to children’s choruses and songs from the countries of international crew members. The recording is usually followed by a call from the CAPCOM in Mission Control, wishing the crew a good morning.
The common element of all these selections is that they promote a sense of camaraderie and esprit de corps among the astronauts and ground support personnel.
Paul McCartney and Beatles favorite “Good Day Sunshine” greet the Atlantis crew of Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley, Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim first thing on Flight Day 8. Sir Paul and the Beatles’ music have awakened a dozen past shuttle crews. “Good Day Sunshine” was played for two Discovery crews of STS-121 and STS-128. On learning the popular Beatles song was used to rouse the shuttle crew of STS-121, McCartney treated the Expedition 12 crew aboard the International Space Station with a live musical wakeup call during a first-ever concert linkup in November 2005. The wakeup call during which McCartney performed “Good Day Sunshine” and “English Tea,” came from McCartney’s “US” Tour performance in Anaheim, California. During the live linkup, McCartney said,” I can’t believe we’re actually transmitting to space” as Bill McArthur performed a zero-g flip for the 17,000 Earth bound concert-goers. In an interview about the “Good Day Sunshine” wakeup calls, McCartney said, “I think it hit a chord with American audiences, because…well they’re American, Number 1, and that’s their space shuttle going up there.” McCartney and “Good Day Sunshine” hit a chord with the crewmembers of the final space shuttle crew in NASA’s history: “Good morning guys, wake up! And good luck on this, your last mission. Well done.”
Last updated on February 23, 2021