The International Space Orchestra is, to this date, UP AND RUNNING, at the NASA Ames Research Center Park and the SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA, USA.

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The International Space Orchestra is the world’s first orchestra of space scientists. Blending space exploration and bassoons; planet-poking and bluegrass-playing spacecraft operators – the International Space Orchestra’s members are individuals drawn from NASA Ames Research Center, SETI (Search for Extra-terrestial Intelligence), Singularity University and the International Space University.

Directed by NELLY BEN HAYOUN, featuring music written by Blur and Gorillaz frontman DAMON ALBARN with BOBBY WOMACK; BECK; MAYWA DENKI and PENGUIN CAFE’s ARTHUR JEFFES. With lyrics by BRUCE STERLING & JASMINA TESANOVIC. Musical director: Two time Grammy-Award winner EVAN PRICE.

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

The project’s mission is to introduce the public to the emotional nuances of space science technologies, the people working with them and the challenges and opportunities of an exciting new era of commercial space exploration. Fuelled by Silicon Valley-based commercial space companies such as Virgin Galactic, Space X and Google – the space industry is at one of the most exciting moments in its history – and projects such as near-earth asteroid mining and sending humans to Mars orbit are being discussed as realities for the 2030s.
For the performance Ground Control: An Opera in Space, NBH Studio assembled a group of NASA space scientists and astronauts to participate in a musical retelling of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. Ben Hayoun describes the collaboration, which premiered in front of the World largest windtunnel 80x 120 foot in NASA Ames Research Center on September 6th 2012  (see Teaser here), California, and San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall with a live performance with BECK,  as ‘a call to imagine and disrupt future human relations to science – to adapt science to our creative needs’. Ground Control: An Opera in Space was recorded at Skywalker Ranch, George Lucas‘ studio, where Star Wars was developed.
In January 2013, the International Space Orchestra feature film had its world premiere at the prestigious Rotterdam International Film Festival where it was acclaimed by the critic as a “masterpiece” (Independent Cinema Office, ICO), a “real achievement” (DOMUS),”as thrilling as watching a rocket launch” and “Spine Tingling” (The Guardian).

In 2013, NBH Studio had two Ardusat satellites launched carrying the ISO recordings aboard the H-IIB Launch Vehicle, HTV-4 from Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Centre.
In November 2013, the satellites were released from the International Space Station by the six- member expedition crew. The ISO recordings currently orbit the earth.

In 2015, March; the International Space Orchestra records a special orchestration of punk band The Prodigy’s Breathe with me song  for the feature film Disaster Playrgound (which premiered at SXSW 2015)

In 2015, May 5th, ISO trumpet player BJ Navarro, received pictures from ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti who brought the ISO music Compact Disc to ISS. The pictures show the ISO CD orbiting the earth on board the ISS, experiencing ZERO G inside the Cupola.

In 2015, August, the record of the International Space Station made it back on Earth, on board of the Soyuz rocket! The International Space Orchestra’s record made it to the International Space Station and back. Our mission is accomplished.

The International Space Orchestra, Ground-Control: An Opera in Space was initially commissioned by ZERO1 Biennial with support from Z33, House for Contemporary Art, Montalvo Arts Center, the Science and Technology Corporation, Taksha University and V2_ . It was a collaboration with NASA Ames Research Center SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Life), Singularity University, and the International Space University,

Produced by Nelly Ben Hayoun Studio.

A NASA Ames educational outreach activity

Endorsed by the International Space University and Singularity University

With the kind support of XL Recordings

‘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

PHOTO: The International Space Orchestra logo etched on ArduSat before launch June 2013, photo by Nanosatisfi. © Nanosatisfi

See teaser on the International Space Orchestra Vimeo

Copyright 2015 Nelly Ben Hayoun
ISO logo designed by David Benqué
ISO website designed by Studio Myers

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