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Astro-Ham Alexander Gerst, KF5ONO, Jams with Kraftwerk for Festival Audience


European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut Alexander Gerst, KF5ONO, had the opportunity on July 20 to sit in from space with the otherworldly German band Kraftwerk. Gerst accompanied the four Kraftwerk musicians, each on synthesizers, using a tablet device equipped to serve as a mini-synthesizer as part of the Jazz Open Festival held on Schlossplatz, the largest square in Stuttgart, Germany. Gerst appeared on a huge screen that back-dropped the four Kraftwerk members.

Never thought that the first concert I [would] ever play in is with the legendary Kraftwerk, let alone jamming live from space with them, from the ‘Spacelab 2.0’ Columbus directly to Stuttgart,” Gerst tweeted afterward. He was in the ESA Columbus module for the event, which was attended by about 7,500 Earthlings. He began his part of the concert by “sneaking in” the well-known five-note melody from the film, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” As Gerst explained, “It just fit too perfectly.” Before joining Kraftwerk for the musical portion of the occasion, Gerst, speaking in his native German, said, “I want you to come along with me…with us…on this fantastic journey.”

Gerst will be aboard the ISS until December.