Feature

Text Size

Aerosmith Reaches New Heights Talking With Astronaut
01.29.04
 
Aerosmith, the rock band performing at opening ceremonies at Super Bowl XXXVIII's pre-game show, talked Wednesday from NASA's Johnson Space Center's Mission Control with Astronaut Mike Foale on the International Space Station.

The five members of the band were at the Johnson Space Center with a National Football League crew for filming related to their Sunday Super Bowl performance. Feb. 1 is the anniversary of the Columbia accident. Aerosmith's performance is to include a tribute to NASA and the Columbia crew.

Members of the band -- Steven Tyler, vocalist; Joe Perry, guitar; Tom Hamilton, bass; Brad Whitford, guitar, and Joey Kramer, drums -- talked with Foale from the flight director's console in the station Flight Control Room about 11 a.m. CST.

The Aerosmith band members with members of the flight control team in Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Image right: The Aerosmith band members with members of the flight control team in Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Tyler told Foale to call the group if they ever needed a band on the Space Station. He asked what the crew does on weekends.

"I think it's great that you're interested," Foale replied. "We're all interested in the same kinds of groovy stuff -- we just have to make it useful for people." Foale said much of their off-duty time is looking out the window. "You look at the world -- you look at the Earth. It's just never boring."

"We support and love what you guys are doing up there," Hamilton told Foale. "It's great."

After their visit to Mission Control, the five members of the band appeared briefly before about 1,000 employees gathered outdoors in Johnson Space Center's mall.

Aerosmith band members talk briefly with about 1,000 employees gathered outdoors in Johnson Space Center's mall. Image right: Aerosmith band members talk briefly with about 1,000 employees gathered outdoors in Johnson Space Center's mall.

"Great love and great achievements involve great risks," Perry told the crowd. The crew doing what they're doing "and you down here supporting them -- it's phenomenal. Hats off to you all and thanks very much for letting us come here and see this."

Foale told the band about a spacewalk with fellow crewmember Alexander Kaleri next month -- the sights, the impressions and the night-and-day temperatures. Foale, a veteran of three spacewalks, said concentration on tasks is so intense that such experiences have to be recalled and enjoyed afterwards.

Roman Perry, 12, son of Joe Perry, asked about weightlessness. Foale said he had been uncomfortable in aircraft flights that provide about 25 seconds of weightlessness, but that spaceflight did not do that to him.

About 130 million U.S. viewers are expected to watch Aerosmith's Super Bowl performance and predictions call for a global television audience of about 1 billion.