France's musical astronaut Thomas Pesquet is enjoying a special birthday present delivered to him at the International Space Station.

The saxophone arrived in a SpaceX cargo ship on February 23, and Mr Pesquet's crewmates kept it hidden until his 39th birthday on February 27.

He revealed the birthday surprise this week via Twitter.

Mr Pesquet, a former Air France pilot, has been in orbit since November and still has a few months left there.

This is not the first time a sax has flown in space.

Shuttle astronaut Ronald McNair took one up in 1984, two years before he died aboard the Challenger.

Other out-of-this-world musical instruments include a piano keyboard, flute, guitar, bagpipes and even an Australian didgeridoo.

AP