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Watch a NASA astronaut play bagpipes in space

Astronaut Kjell Lindgren pays tribute to a colleague who died unexpectedly by performing "Amazing Grace" on the International Space Station.

Astronaut Kjell Lindgren plays specially made bagpipes in space to honor the scientist who trained him.
Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

NASA astronauts have done some rather entertaining things aboard the International Space Station -- from reading aloud in honor of Towel Day to creeping us out with spooky masks on Halloween.

But this looks to be the first time we've seen an astronaut play the bagpipes on the ISS.

It all started two years ago, when NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren consulted with the folks at Scottish company McCallum Bagpipes to see if they could make him pipes that could withstand space.

"They're made of plastic -- they're just easier to keep clean and to make sure they're not contaminated," McCallum Bagpipes director Kenny MacLeod told the BBC. "They're also lighter."

So when Lindgren learned that research scientist Victor Hurst, his former NASA astronaut instructor, died unexpectedly in October at age 48, he wanted to do something special to honor his colleague while on the space station.

"He always had a quick smile, a kind word," Lindgren told the BBC. "I don't know if anyone was more enthusiastic and professional about being involved in human space flight."

Lindgren recorded a special ISS video this weekend of himself playing "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes to remember Hurst, ending with a sincere "God bless you, Victor."

Watch the video below.