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Bagpipes Played in Space for the First Time

Kjell Lindgren, an astronaut currently on the International Space Station, recently became the first person to play the bagpipes in space. He played the hymn "Amazing Grace" in memory of Victor Hurst, a scientist who worked closely with Lindgren during his astronaut training. Hurst recently died unexpectedly at the age of 48.

You can hear the performance in a video embedded at CNET.

Lindgren used bagpipes made by the Scottish firm McCallum Bagpipes to withstand the rigors of space travel. The BBC reports:

Kenny Macleod, who works at McCallum Bagpipes, told BBC Scotland the 42-year-old astronaut had got in touch two years ago to say he was going to the space station and wanted to play the pipes while he was there.

"He wondered if it was feasible to play bagpipes," he said.

"They're made of plastic - they're just easier to keep clean and to make sure they're not contaminated. They're also lighter."

In the video, Mr Lindgren is seen to give the pipes a punch before he starts playing. Mr Macleod said it was normal for pipers to massage the bag to get the air flowing, "but not quite as vigorously as that".

"The thing about bagpipes is that they're very difficult to play at high altitude because the air is that bit thinner. They're quite hard to blow so he's done well," he added.

-via Marilyn Terrell

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