Just days before Christmas in December 1965, the Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 spacecraft took part in the first manned rendezvous of two vehicles in space. Soon after, as astronauts Walter M. "Wally" Schirra Jr. and Thomas P. Stafford readied Gemini 6 for re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, they contacted Mission Control and reported a sighting of “a command module and eight smaller modules in front.” They said, “The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit.” It was then that Mission Control heard the familiar yet otherworldy strains of “Jingle Bells” coming from space.
Schirra and Stafford had smuggled a harmonica and miniature sleigh bells aboard the Gemini 6 spacecraft. That’s how “Jingle Bells,” James Lord Pierpont's 1857 composition, became the first song performed in space.
Merry Christmas from the great beyond: