Astronaut Snoopy is ready to take off into space for NASA’s Artemis Moon mission

A new rocket designed to launch humans to the moon, Mars and beyond will launch next year from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On the plane will be a familiar mysterious character – Snoopy. A plush 5-ounce version of the dreamy Beagle – dressed in a spacesuit tailored to exacting NASA specifications – has work important to the Artemis I drone mission. The spacecraft entered the weightlessness of space. Because the toys are soft and light, you won’t break anything or accidentally hit a button. The Artemis I mission is expected to orbit the Moon and then return to Earth in February without astronauts, making sure all systems are working for future manned missions. There will also be two Lego minifigures on board, as part of an educational series.

The announcement of the upcoming mission coincides with the release on Friday of the second season of “Snoopy in Space,” the Emmy Award-nominated animated series on Apple TV+. Season one saw Snoopy become an astronaut and land on the moon. In Season 2, he delves into what showrunner Mark Evstaff calls his “epic road trip.”

“We’ve gone one step further so that Snoopy can go to some of those places we haven’t been to, like Mars or the moons of Jupiter or visit an exoplanet,” he says. “And he does it through his imagination, but it is also based on real NASA science.”

Stephanie Bates, director of content for media company WildBrain, said season one was the perfect foundation. Snoopy became an astronaut and was able to go into space. Well now what do you do with it? Well, let’s explore. Let’s fulfill this search for life.

Back home, Snoopy’s lavish gravity-monitoring mission — officially called the Zero Gravity Index — will be a far cry from the first stuffed toy used by astronauts. Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space, had a small doll when he blasted off at Vostok 1.

Since then, an owl and Angry Birds toy have been found aboard the International Space Station, a plush R2-D2 was used as a mascot on the Soyuz mission in 2015, and a snowman from Olaf from “Frozen” is the craft. The plush Snoopy was also on the space station.

Snoopy has a long history with NASA, which began when Apollo X astronauts Thomas Stafford, John Young and Gene Cernan chose the “Peanuts” characters as their nicknames – the command module was called Charlie Brown and the lunar module. She was Snoopy.

“Someone had the idea of ​​trying to get more into the space program. By the time they got to Apollo 10 they felt the program was going to be a bit out of date,” said Craig Schulz, son of Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts program. It was perhaps one of the greatest, if not the greatest, honors that could be given to a comic book. “

Charles Schulz, for his part, drew ribbons with Snoopy as he walked on the moon. I did it! I’m the first beagle on the moon! I beat the Russians… I beat everyone… I even beat that stupid cat living next door! Snoopy said in one.

NASA and “Peanuts” have often been intertwined. The space agency honors its best employees with a Silver Snoopy award, and the Snoopy doll was aboard Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft in 2019.

The 10-inch by 7-inch Snoopy plush made for the Artemis I mission wasn’t the kind you’d find on a target shelf. It is a unique work and carefully crafted using only materials approved by NASA. The endurance test is scheduled for December.

“The spacesuit had to meet all the requirements and be of the same quality as the astronauts, both in terms of materials and in what was approved. It was a back-and-forth process for several months, looking at all the materials used in the spacecraft,” said Craig Schulze. space suit”.

In many ways, Snoopy’s reunion with NASA in 2021 reflects how the two initially worked together to spark interest in space exploration.

“Space travel is almost normal now,” Schulze said. “People’s attention span is a bit low, most of the time. So when you inject a little bit of this entertaining Snoopy, you get the audience going.”

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