Houston, We Have A Heavy Metal Band

With an upcoming album titled “The Final Frontier,” it’s only natural that Iron Maiden squeezed in a visit to the NASA Space Center in Houston during the band’s run of Texas dates.

Four members of the British heavy metal band enjoyed a VIP visit to the center with astronaut Michael J. Massimino leading the comprehensive tour.

“Having a visit from Iron Maiden was great fun,” Massimino said. “It was a pleasure to meet them and they are big fans of the space program.  It was an honor for NASA to host them and a big morale boost for the entire NASA team to have Iron Maiden at the Space Center.”

Astronaut Michael J. Massimino, Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson & drummer Nicko McBrain.

Vocalist Bruce Dickinson, a licensed commercial pilot, said he and the band had a blast at the center and especially enjoyed checking out the Apollo Room.

“We appear to have a lot of fans at NASA, and it was a real pleasure to meet some of them, especially, of course, a bona fide astronaut who has made a number of space walks. Hearing first hand of Michael’s experiences was fascinating. He took us round the Space Station and Shuttle and up close to the incredible Saturn-5 rocket,” Dickinson said.

“The highlight was unquestionably the Apollo Room, from where the moon landings were coordinated, this was to step back into history. Looking at the relative simplicity of the equipment compared to today, it is amazing how they managed to pull it off. Each of us even got to take off, fly and land the Space Shuttle on the simulator, a real thrill. We felt very privileged and hope that Michael and our NASA fans enjoyed our Houston show as much as we enjoyed our visit with them.”

Iron Maiden kicked off their Final Frontier Tour June 9 at the Superpage.com Center in Dallas, followed by Texas gigs at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands (June 11) and AT&T Center in San Antonio (June 12).

Tonight the band plays The Pavilion in Albuquerque, N.M., with U.S. and Canadian dates booked through a July 20 gig at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Va.

In August Iron Maiden can be found on stages across Europe with shows in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Hungary, Romania, Italy, Belgium and Spain.

The Final Frontier, Iron Maiden’s fifteenth studio album, is set for release Aug. 16.

Click here for Iron Maiden’s official website.