Astronaut Chris Hadfield
Jarre had planned to link up with MCNair on board space shuttle Challenger as part of a show in Houston, Texas, and watched in horror as his pal and his crewmates perished when the craft disintegrated just 73 seconds after lift-off.
|Ronald Ervin McNair, Ph.D., (October 21, 1950 – January 28, 1986) was a physicist and NASA astronaut. McNair died during the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS-51-L.|
He tells CelebrityAccess contributor Larry LeBlanc, "When I heard about the astronaut wanting to play music, obviously, it reminded me of this quite hard time... I could write a book around this concert in Houston.
"For the first time in its history, Nasa wanted to be part of a cultural event. We had this idea of having a live link in space, and a song performed, not just as an engineer and a scientist, but also an artist playing saxophone live. It was really moving. Writing a piece of saxophone for Nasa is quite challenging for a musician.
"Then we did it, and Ron was rehearsing until the last minute. (I said), 'Ok, I'll give you a rendezvous in space,' which was a time to play together, with me in Houston, onstage over the skyline, and him in outer space.
|STS-51-L crew: (front row) Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair; (back row) Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik.|
"He said, 'Watch me on television for the take-off...' and we saw the tragedy. We were all in tears. I wanted to cancel the whole thing (concert). The astronauts in Houston said, 'You have to go on. You have to do this concert as a tribute to the astronauts.'"
Challenger Disaster Live on CNN
Jean Michel Jarre - Ron's Piece (Houston Concert)
Jewel in the Night - original music from the International Space Station