''When I was a boy Dan Dare
was a comic book hero, and space travel just a romantic idea, not a reality. I was 14 years old when Yuri Gagarin
became the first man in space; my songwriting partner Bernie Taupin
was just 11. Bernie and I did not meet until 1967, and two years after we met, Neil Armstrong
became the first man to step on to the moon.
''Our generation was smitten with the glory and excitement of space travel. Rocket Man and indeed Dan Dare on the Rock of the Westies album came from those boyhood dreams of travelling beyond the stars and looking back on Earth.
''Not long after the Rocket Man single was released, my band and I were invited to the NASA headquarters in Texas and shown around by Al Worden, Apollo 15 command module pilot. It was thrilling to find that real astronauts liked our song, Rocket Man, which was about an imaginary astronaut.
'''Now, 40 years later, its amazing to hear from the astronauts at the European Space Agency that they like the song and that it has been on the playlist on the International Space Station. I send my best wishes to ESA and all the crew, and my thanks for keeping those boyhood dreams alive.''
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