Countdown: Feel the Music Inspired by the Space Shuttles

The NASA Space Shuttles have, since the very beginning, inspired more than just those of us who live in the United States. The three man Canadian progressive rock band, Rush, having been privileged to witness first-hand the April 12, 1981 launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-1 from the VIP section (called Red Sector A at the time) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, were so moved by the experience that they recorded a song describing the intensity & excitement of the moment called “Countdown“.

Neil Peart, drummer & primary lyricist of the band penned the words, which paint a vivid picture of what it felt like to witness such an amazing event while the music of the trio, which also includes Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson, to accompany those words magically drives home the seriousness & intense anticipation of the experience.

According to the liner notes, the song, which closes the album Signals, is dedicated to “the astronauts Young & Crippen and all the people of NASA for their inspiration and cooperation.” The crew aboard STS-1 consisted of just 2 members, Commander John W. Young & Pilot Robert Crippen. It is to them that Rush is referring to in their dedication of the song.

“Countdown” was also played for STS-134 Space Shuttle Endeavour astronaut, Mike Fincke, on its final mission which launched May 16, 2011.

So you see, even just pointing to the example of one song, NASA’s 30 year Space Shuttle program has been an inspiration to the hearts & minds of more than just those of the United States. From the beginning & evolving with every mission, it has been & continued to grow into a global symbol of the endless possibilities of what humanity is capable of through cooperation.


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