Astronauts on the final NASA shuttle mission on Thursday woke up to a pre-recorded message from gay singer Sir Elton John.

NASA woke the crew to listen to the star saying: “Good morning Atlantis, this is Elton John. We wish you much success on your mission and a huge thank you to all the men and women at NASA who worked on the shuttle for the last three decades.”

According to Sky News, a short clip of John’s song Rocketman was then played to the crew.

The crew controlling the shuttle Atlantis launched from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida last Friday to carry supplies and spare parts to the International Space Station.

The shuttle’s commander, Christopher Ferguson, apparently in shock, said: “Elton John. Music legend. Wow. That is absolutely fantastic.”

There have been 135 flights into space since the shuttle programme was launched in 1981.