Sax in space: French astronaut delighted with birthday gift

- This is one cosmically cool sax - and saxophone player.

France's musical astronaut Thomas Pesquet is enjoying a special birthday present delivered to him up at the International Space Station. The saxophone arrived in a SpaceX cargo ship on Feb. 23, and his crewmates kept it hidden until his 39th birthday on Feb. 27.

He revealed the birthday surprise this week via Twitter.

"Totally pumped to hear @Thom_astro rock his sax on orbit! Happy belated birthday buddy!" future space station crewmate Jack Fischer tweeted Monday. The NASA astronaut is scheduled to blast off next month from Kazakhstan.

"You might reconsider when you hear the cacophony. Now ace those final exams and get up here!" Pesquet replied Tuesday.

Pesquet has been in orbit since November and has three months remaining in his mission. He's a former pilot for Air France.

This isn't the first time a sax has flown in space. Shuttle astronaut Ronald McNair took one up in 1984, two years before he died aboard the Challenger.

Other out-of-this-world musical instruments: piano keyboard, flute, guitar, bagpipes and even an Australian didgeridoo.

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Online:

NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

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