Irish music will be out of this world literally today when the U.S. /Russia joint space station mission blasts off from Kazakhstan.

That is because astronaut Catherne ‘Cady’ Coleman has packed a traditional Irish concert flute given to her by Chieftains musician Matt Molloy.

Coleman is a committed Irish traditional musician and told a press conference yesterday that she intended playing Irish music in space, the first time it has been heard beyond the bounds of earth.

Matt Molloy told The Irish Times yesterday that he had met the NASA astronaut ten years ago after playing a concert in Houston.

“We had done a concert and as always we had a tune afterwards with local musicians.It transpired she played the flute and we have been friends ever since,” he told the paper.

He says Coleman told her “Your music always brings me to a special place so I thought I’d bring yours to one. I was really moved.” Molloy said.

He says the flute that she will play the Irish music on is a very special one.

“It was made in the late 1890s or early 1900s and I could not possibly put a value on it but it’s very special to me.Cady is a fine accomplished flute-player so it in in good hands” he said.

Coleman will be based on the space station for six months where she will join two Russian crew and another American.