STS-107 Caramba log 1

As my wife, STS-107 crewmember Kalpana Chawla, has commented, "Deep Purple has something so superior." She and I attended the DP concert in Bossier City, Louisiana, during the 2001 US tour, her first-ever rock concert and my first-ever DP concert. Kalpana is not exactly a rock music aficionado, but nevertheless characterized the show as "a spiritual experience". She was enthused about being right next to the stage, just a few feet away from Gillan "the 'Jesus Christ Superstar' singer - and I was right there!", and Steve Morse whose overwhelmingly positive attitude is as strong an attraction as his brilliant musicianship.

Kalpana's choice

Kalpana chose 20 CDs to carry aboard the STS-107 mission, including "Machine Head" and "Purpendicular", both selected because they had aviation/space-related songs ("Space Truckin'" and "The Aviator", respectively). Also carried on the flight are CDs by several Indian musicians including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Hariprasad Chaurasia, and Ravi Shankar among others, Midori, Thelonius Monk, Steve Vai (for the rock and roll Hindu prayer on "Ultra Zone"), and Blackmore's Night. Also included is Rainbow's "Down to Earth", selected for Don Airey since there are not yet any DP Mk.8 releases. All of these CDs will be sent to the respective artists after the mission with certificates of flight.

Shuttle crewmembers are given the option of selecting wakeup music during their missions. Kalpana asked me for suggestions so I passed the buck to Ian Gillan (whom I had never previously met) via the email address on Caramba! I heard back from Ian quite quickly and he generously arranged to meet us at the Houston DP concert in June 2002. I sent Ian the list of the already selected wakeup music selections which included pieces by Abida Parveen, Yehudi Menuhin and Ravi Shankar, and Blackmore's Night.

laughter & subtlety

Ian commented that the band broke up laughing when they saw the list because their selection was "Space Truckin'", a piece a little more insistent than the others. Anyway, upon meeting Ian I assured him that "Space Truckin'" is quite subtle compared to some of the selections played during previous missions, such as marching band performances of university fight songs. I presented Ian with the "Machine Head", "Purpendicular" and "Down to Earth" CDs which he took to the other DP members for their signatures. Efforts are also underway to secure signatures from Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore to affix to these CDs.

Accompanying me backstage were Rona Ramon, wife of STS-107 crewmember Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut, Marine Le Gouic and Ing Oei, both STS-107 payload scientists from the European Space Agency. Though Kalpana had planned to meet with DP, the STS-107 crew had a scheduling conflict which found them at Kennedy Space Center on the day of the concert. The launch, originally planned for August 2001, was rescheduled for July 2002, and the crew was reviewing the TCDT (Terminal Count Down Timeline). Anyway, the launch slipped again soon after with the date now set no earlier than 16 January 2003.

At my request Simon Robinson of DPAS kindly tracked down a recording of "Space Truckin" with Steve on guitar. Not only is Steve a phenomenal musician, he has had a tremendous role in revitalizing DP (plus Kalpana really likes him). It is only appropriate to use this version of "Space Truckin" as wakeup music; Blackmore will be heard when "Shadow of the Moon" is played on a different date.

Jean-Pierre Harrison

"The foregoing are the personal observations of Jean-Pierre Harrison and do not constitute an official statement or endorsement by NASA or any NASA employee or contractor."

Commander Husband
Rick D Husband
William C McCool
Payload Commander
Michael P Anderson
Mission Specialist
Kalpana Chawla
Mission Specialist
Laurel B Clark
Payload Specialist
Ilan Ramon
Mission Specialist
David M Brown

NASA links:
Human Spaceflight: STS-107: Space Research and You
STS-107 Crew interviews (and meals) at NASA Human Spaceflight site


Click here to go to the Columbia mission STS 107 Logs index