That time Bono asked the U.S. State Department for some special space treatment

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Bono in 2014.
Bono in 2014.

Image: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/AP

Apparently Bono is a space fan. One of the weirdest requests Hillary Clinton’s staff fielded from a Clinton Foundation donor came from the U2 frontman.

According to a newly released email sent to Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band, Bono was working hard to get astronauts on the International Space Station involved with the band’s 2009 worldwide tour.

“Bono wants to do a linkup with the international space station on every show during the tour this year,” Ben Schwerin, a former aide to Bill Clinton, wrote in an email to Abedin and Band on May 27, 2009.

The email was released as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Judicial Watch.

“I’m trying to figure out who the best contact is to talk to at NASA or the congressional committee on science and technology,” Schwerin added. “Any ideas? Thks”

Neither Abedin nor Band knew who Schwerin should get in touch with and both replied “no clue” to his query.

U2 did use specially requested footage and recorded astronaut messages from the Space Station during its 2009 360° Tour. 

According to an August 2009 NASA report, “the six crewmembers downlinked a non-interactive message to be incorporated by the music band U2 in their current North American Tour.”

The Space Station crewmembers were also asked to “voice eight lines of U2’s new song ‘Your Blue Room‘ that, along with a montage of space and ISS scenes that NASA is providing to U2 separately, will play during their U.S. tour dates.

The report also mentions that this request was a “followup” to one completed in June 2009 “when the ISS crew downlinked greetings for U2’s European tour venues.”

Whether or not this recording was a direct result of Bono’s request to the State Department is unclear, but in the end U2 did get what it wanted: some spacey inspiration on a world tour.

It’s not very unusual for astronauts to record special videos to beam down to Earth during various events.

When Scott Kelly was living and working in space for a year, he recorded messages for space conferences. Astronauts can also conduct live interviews with media and schools during their time in orbit depending on the availability of video communications.

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