Another music star is interested in going to space. US Weekly reported Wednesday that pop singer Lady Gaga, perhaps known as much for her creative wardrobe as for her music, would be flying on Virgin Galactic in 2015 to perform a song. The singer—legally known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta—would fly as part of festival called “Zero G Colony” reportedly planned for early 2015 at Spaceport America in New Mexico that will feature “world-class entertainment and cutting-edge technology.” Lady Gaga and her “glam squad” would fly on SpaceShipTwo and perform one song during their brief time in space.
The US Weekly article includes the claim that Lady Gaga “has to do a month of vocal training because of the atmosphere,” an odd statement since the cabin of SpaceShipTwo will be pressurized, presumably at least to levels found in commercial jetliners. The overall article has been widely re-reported, with little additional information; one exception is E! Online, which reports that the Zero G Colony event will be a “high-concept ground event music festival” that includes “futuristic attractions.” (Nothing is said about the logistics of holding a music festival at the remote spaceport, particularly during the winter, when it can be quite chilly in the New Mexican desert; in addition, the acoustics inside the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space hangar are, based on personal experience, lousy.)
There’s been no official announcement from Virgin Galactic or other participants in the reported flight, beyond a cryptic tweet from Lady Gaga herself:
A follow-up tweet from the singer suggests more details will come out Sunday, tied to the release of her latest album, ARTPOP:
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) November 6, 2013
Much of the coverage that has been published about the report plays up claims that Lady Gaga would become the first recording artist to perform in space. In fact, though, she joins a number of other individuals and groups seeking to be the first to perform in space. In 2011, British group Muse said they were interested in performing on a Virgin Galactic flight. A year later, there were reports the musical power couple of Jay-Z and Beyoncé were considering filming a music video on a Virgin Galactic flight. And, just last month, pop star Rihanna reportedly purchased three Virgin Galactic tickets, although there was no talk of her performing on the flight (the extra tickets would go to her brother and a very lucky bodyguard.)
In any event, Lady Gaga (or Jay-Z and Beyoncé, or Muse, etc.) could become the first recording artist to perform in space, but certainly not the first musician. A number of astronauts have, over the years, demonstrated their musical talents while in space. In 2011 NASA astronaut Cady Coleman performed a flute duet with Ian Anderson (of Jethro Tull fame) while she was on the ISS. (Anderson was earthbound.) Earlier this year, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield performed David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” near the end of this stint on the space station. Hadfield is not a professional musician, but his cover of “Space Oddity” might sound better to many ears than the collected works of Lady Gaga.