On 20 July 2018, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst joined legendary electronic group Kraftwerk for a unique performance of Spacelab.
The performance was held at the Jazz Open Festival on Stuttgart’s Schlossplatz, and live from the International Space Station, where Gerst will live and work until mid-December 2018.
During the call with space, Kraftwerk founding member Ralf Hütter and Gerst played a duet version of the Spacelab, with Gerst using an iPad.
The ESA shared some of the details on the setup with CDM:
The software on the iPad was custom-configured for Dr. Gerst by Henning Schmitz, especially for this event, and then sent to orbit. The iPad itself made its way to ISS on the SpaceX-launched supply mission CRS-15 at the end of June. (Russian Progress vehicles launched on Soyuz also supply the ISS; the USA uses Dragon atop Falcon 9 at the moment.)
The app is Lemur, the landmark touch control app, with another soft synth behind it making the sound. (ESA are not making public the identity of the other app.)
Because of the 3-5 second lag time, Gerst led solo, and then Kraftwerk was able to join him in sync.