Astronaut Bill McArthur described Sir Paul's live wakeup call as "simply magnificent". The call was beamed 220 miles above the Earth to the international space station crew during Sir Paul's concert in Anaheim, California (see November 11). The call didn't actually awaken the crew for their 44th day in orbit in their six-month flight. They were already wide awake waiting for the start of their communication session when Sir Paul called out "Hi, boys!" to them. Sir Paul addressed cosmonaut Tokarev in Russian saying "Privet, Valery!" In return American astronaut Bill McArthur and Russian cosmonaut Valery Tokarev could be seen on a live feed from space broadcast on NASA television turning weightless somersaults, bobbing up and down, and sipping space tea from squeeze pouches as they watched Sir Paul and his band perform English Tea:
"We want to say hi to you, we want to say good morning. I cant believe were actually transmitting to space. This is sensational. I love it. Wed like to wake you up to a little bit of English Tea. Whats that you got there in your tea Valery, a little vodka?"
"Its a little early today," cosmonaut Tokarev replied with a smile.
Astronaut Bill McArthur saluted Sir Paul saying they were both targeted toward the same goal of "ensuring a bright future for the young people in our planet". He told Sir Paul:
"That was simply magnificent. We consider you an explorer just as we are. Its such an honor for you to join us. Were so thrilled that you can participate in our flight."
Sir Paul invited the concert audience to shout out an enthusiastic "good morning" to the space crew and added:
I think this audience just wants to give you thanks for everything your doing and for joining us here tonight. We wish you all the best for the rest of your mission. We cant wait to meet you when you get back down to Earth."
Before the broadcast, Sir Paul explained his choice of songs:
"I'm singing English Tea from my new album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. I have a cup of tea in the morning, so it's something good to wake up to... It'll be an out-of-space blast. Lots of puns intended."
"That was a lot of fun," said astronaut McArthur after the concert link up. Flight controllers told him that his wife and two daughters were present at mission control in Houston for the event. "I suspect they enjoyed that even more than we did," astronaut McArthur said.
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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