Watch: How to Find Your Flute in Space

by Kate Repantis on December 15, 2014 · 0 comments

in Space, Video

Astronaut Cady Coleman’s ’83 nickname is ‘the Pathfinder.’ “I’ve always been interested in going places people haven’t been,” said Coleman.

But she never really thought about going to space until she met Sally Ride, who talked to students in MIT’s 10-250 about her experiences on Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-7) back in the early 1980s. She tweeted about Ride in a recent #MITAlum Twitter Chat.

“All I did was shake her hand,” said Coleman. “But to me it was very significant to have this woman talk about what she did and realize that maybe that was something I could aspire to as well,” she said.

Coleman became an astronaut in 1992 after completing her bachelor’s degree in chemistry at MIT, a doctorate in polymer science and engineering at the University of Massachusetts, and ongoing service in the US Air Force, where she became a colonel (now she’s retired).

Coleman sends greetings from the International Space Station for MIT's 150th with alumni Greg Chamitoff PhD ’92 (right) and Mike Fincke ’89.

Coleman sends greetings from the International Space Station for MIT’s 150th with alumni Greg Chamitoff PhD ’92 (right) and Mike Fincke ’89.

She has served on STS-73, STS-93, and the International Space Station Expedition 26/27 missions conducting key roles in robotics and scientific research, and aiding in the deployment of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

On her past missions, she chose to grow out her hair for fun and to send a message. “Up in space, my hair is like this giant thing,” she said. “I think it says to girls, this could be you.”

NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman and Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson perform first Space-Earth duet.

NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman and Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson perform first Space-Earth duet.

She also found time in orbit to practice her flute with her fellow astronaut bandmates of Bandella including Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. Watch her play in a duet with Ian Anderson of band Jethro Tull and share how she lost her flute after cutting a practice short in space.

Coleman has been in space for 180 days. But to her, that’s not enough. “It’s very addictive…I just can’t see this getting old,” she said.

Astronaut Coleman’s testimonials are part of Space Shorts, a series of alumni astronaut stories, produced by Alumni Association videographer Brielle Domings. Watch all videos

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