The Chieftains instruments travel to Space

Irish-American astronaut Cady Coleman has not forgotten her Emerald Isle roots, the NASA astronaut marked St. Patrick’s Day in space by playing a solo on Paddy Moloney’s pennywhistle and Matt Molloy’s 100-year-old Irish flute.  When she launched toward the space station in December on a Russian spacecraft, Coleman — a hobby musician — made sure to take a bit of that Irish heritage along for the ride. She packed away two Irish instruments — an antique wooden flute and a shiny pennywhistle — that were loaned to her by the members of the Chieftains.

“St. Patrick’s Day is a day when people all over the Earth recognize their Irish heritage,” Coleman said while wearing an appropriately green shirt. “And now we’re doing that from space as well.

The pennywhistle is owned by Chieftains member Paddy Moloney and the  wooden flute is owned by his bandmate Matt Molloy, Coleman said. “I might not have mentioned that the trip would have been six months long and that their flutes would have traveled millions of miles before they came home, but I’d like to reassure them that their treasures are just fine,” Coleman said. “They’re actually never far from home because we fly over Ireland several times a day.”

Coleman is one of three astronauts currently living on the International Space Station (three other crewmembers returned to Earth yesterday), and is the outpost’s only American crewmember. An Italian astronaut and Russian cosmonaut round out the crew.  Another three spaceflyers (a NASA astronaut and two cosmonauts) are due to launch toward the space station in the next few weeks. Their initial March 29 (EDT) liftoff was delayed due to a technical glitch on their spacecraft.  Coleman and her two current station crewmates are scheduled to return to Earth in September.

You can view the video via the link below.  Happy St.Patrick’s Day!