Ron McNair plays sax in space, 1984
An accomplished jazz saxophonist, Ronald E. McNair PhD '76 was the second African-American to make a flight to outer space, where he was also the first astronaut to play a musical instrument.
McNair had plans to play a saxophone solo on board his second mission for composer Jean Michel Jarre's album Rendez-Vous (Dreyfus Records, 1986), including participation in the concert via live feed. The plans never came to fruition after McNair and the six other crew members of the STS-51L mission died tragically in the 1986 Challenger accident. As a tribute to McNair, the album's sixth and last piece is entitled Last Rendez-Vous (Ron's Piece) - 'Challenger'.