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NASA announces shuttle songwriting contest

MELBOURNE, Fla., Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Would-be songwriters will get a chance at fame by penning a wake-up song for NASA's last space shuttle mission, officials said.

Wake-up songs, beamed up to astronauts when designated sleep periods end, are a longstanding space tradition dating back to the Apollo program.

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Traditionally, the wake-up songs are selected by friends and family of the crews, but for the last two scheduled missions, NASA is inviting the public to take part in a "Wake-up Song Contest" to select songs from a list of the Top 40 previous wake-up calls for the penultimate mission or to submit original tunes for consideration for the final shuttle flight, a NASA release said Friday.

The two songs receivingg the most votes from the Top 40 list will be played as crew wake-up calls on the final scheduled flight of space shuttle Discovery, set to launch Nov. 1.

"We're looking forward to hearing which songs the public wants played for us," Mission Commander Steve Lindsey said. "It's going to be a difficult choice, because there have been so many great songs played over the years."

Songwriters have until Jan. 10 to submit an original tune related to or suggesting human spaceflight for consideration for the final shuttle mission by Endeavour, scheduled for Feb. 26.

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After screening by NASA, selections will be posted online for a public vote beginning Feb. 8.

The top two songs will be played for the Endeavour crew.

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