The recording, entitled Legacy, traveled into space on the 31st flight of the space shuttle Atlantis, piloted by Tennessee Tech alumnus Captain Barry E. Wilmore. The CD was recorded by R. Winston Morris and the Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble 40th Anniversary All-Star Alumni Ensemble in 2007 and produced by Mark Records.
The CD launched with the Atlantis Space Shuttle from Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 16, 2009, and traveled to an altitude of 221 miles, making 171 Earth orbits and covering a total distance of 4,490,138 miles at a maximum speed of 17,500 mph over the following 10 days.
"It is hard to imagine that music produced and recorded by many other universities in the world has ever reached such a truly stellar height," said Arthur LaBar, TTU music and art department chairperson.
Morris quipped that he had more than once accused some of his students of being space cadets and now he has proof.
Legacy was a project produced and directed by Morris and included 23 Tennessee Tech Tuba Ensemble alumni and music faculty members Joshua Hauser, euphonium, and Eric Willie, percussion. One of the compositions on the Legacy album that traveled in space was "Pinnacle" by Tennessee Tech music faculty member and composer Greg Danner. The album also included a work by TTU alumnus Aldo Rafael Forte called "Dynamo!"
Visitors to TTU's Bryan Fine Arts Building lobby can see a display featuring the framed CD and photograph of the disc floating in the cockpit of Atlantis beside Wilmore.