Watch Kraftwerk perform ‘Spacelab’ live in space

Synth pioneers team up with German astronaut

Kraftwerk teamed up with an in-orbit astronaut over the weekend to perform ‘Spacelab’ live.

The collaboration took place during a concert in Stuttgart, Germany, with German astronaut Alexander Gerst performing with the band from the International Space Station.

Gerst used a tablet configured with a virtual synthesizer to play Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machine cut ‘Spacelab’, with the band’s co-founder Ralf Hütter.

The duet lasted five minutes, after which Gerst signed off to return to astronaut duties while the rest of the band carried on. He will remain onboard the ISS until December 2018. You can watch footage below.

Gerst also gave a space lesson to the audience. “The ISS is a Man-Machine, the most complex and valuable machine humankind has ever built,” he explained.

“Here in the European Columbus Laboratory, the successor to the Spacelab, the European Space Agency (ESA) is researching things that will improve daily life on Earth. More than 100 different nations work together peacefully here and achieve things that a single nation could never achieve. We are developing technologies onboard the ISS to grow beyond our current horizons and prepare to take further species into spaces, to the Moon and Mars.”

He’s not the first space musician. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded a cover of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ and played a duet with the Barenaked Ladies while 250 miles above the Earth in 2013.

American astronaut Ron McNair planned to play saxophone from orbit with Jean Michel Jarre in 1986 but died in the Challenger tragedy.

Last year, a copy of Kraftwerk’s alleged “transport rider” from their tour in 2013 surfaced online.