See the International Space Orchestra rehearsing on NASA TV.

Minute 7 , you can watch it online

Blending space science, planet-poking and bluegrass-playing spacecraft operators, the world’s first orchestra composed of space scientists – the International Space Orchestra – is coming together to perform Ground Control: An Opera in Space.

Inspired by our desire to understand the universe, and to rocket-propel our souls to further galaxies, Ground Control: An Opera in Space is performed by the International Space Orchestra, an assembly of star-spangled space scientists from NASA Ames, Singularity University, International Space University and the SETI Institute. It features original music by Arthur Jeffes of Penguin Café and music written by Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz), singer Bobby Womack and producer Richard Russell; and Japanese superstar and Otamatone inventor, Maywa Denki. With lyrics by science fiction author Bruce Sterling and writer Jasmina Tesanovic.

In this tangential reality, your Flight Controller conducts arias and the Payload Officer works a baritone sax, while the Capsule Communicator plays the triangle. Merging science, technology, design and opera, Ground-Control: An Opera in Space, aims to reach the final frontier!

The International Space Orchestra, directed and created by Nelly Ben Hayoun, is an experiential and hybrid research laboratory, where space scientists have been invited to implement, deconstruct, perform, sing, mix, modify, and design musical acts in control rooms. It is a provocation to action: a call to imagine and disrupt future human relations to science; to adapt science to our creative needs.

The International Space Orchestra make their world premiere on September 13th 2012 at the ZERO1 Biennale in San Jose, California. The ZERO1 Biennial is North America’s most significant showcase of work at the nexus of art and technology.

The project’s mission is to draw attention to space science at the most monumental time in its history. An exciting new era of private space travel and exploration is underway, fuelled by commercial space companies such as Virgin Galactic, Space X and Google, and projects such as near-earth asteroid mining and reaching Mars are back on the agenda. The International Space Orchestra is currently rehearsing with Nelly Ben Hayoun at NASA Ames, California.

‘Music washes from the soul the dust of everyday life. Much as science washes away the fallacies of how the world was formed and sustains itself… Good luck in your cosmic endeavours and may you truly make the music of the spheres.’

John W Boyd Senior Advisor to the Center Director of NASA Ames, the Senior Advisor for History and the Center Ombuds, letter to Nelly Ben Hayoun, August 13th, 2012

‘Music, like the science of space, is a universal language written in the stars and shared by global hearts united in passion for song!’

Yvonne Cagle, M.D., NASA Astronaut, and International Space Orchestra percussionist, August 2012

The International Space Orchestra, Ground-Control: An Opera in Space is commissioned by ZERO1 Biennial with support from Z33, House for Contemporary Art, Montalvo Arts Center,and V2_ .

Produced by Nelly Ben Hayoun Studio with the kind assistance of Phoebe Greenwood.

A NASA Ames educational outreach activity

Endorsed by International Space University, Singularity University, and with sponsorship support from the Science and Technology Corporation, and Taksha University

With kind support from XL recordings and Editions Penguin Cafe ltd