Science

Snoopy will fly on NASA’s Artemis 1 mission in a unique spacesuit

Snoopy is heading to the moon, again.

The intrepid space explorer, who in 1969 became the world’s first beagle to land on the lunar surface, at least in the Peanuts comic strips drawn by the late Charles M. Schulz, will actually fly aboard the first Artemis mission. from NASA in 2022. Snoopy, in plush form, will serve as the “zero gravity indicator” on the Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft as it orbits the moon.

Snoopy made a similar trip more than 50 years ago, flying “Charlie Brown” as the call signs for the lunar and command modules that carried the astronauts on a final test before the first moon landing.

“I will never forget watching the Apollo 10 mission with my father, who was incredibly proud that his characters were involved in making history in space exploration,” Craig Schulz, son of the cartoonist and producer of “The Peanuts Movie,” said in a statement. . “I know I’d be delighted to see Snoopy and NASA team up again to push the boundaries of the human experience.”

Related: Apple TV + ‘Snoopy in Space’ Season 2 Trailer Has The Right (Animated) Stuff

Snoopy's Artemis 1 Outfit is a custom-made miniature from NASA's Orion Crew Survival System Pressure Suit.

Snoopy’s Artemis 1 Outfit is a custom-made miniature from NASA’s Orion Crew Survival System Pressure Suit. (Image credit: Peanuts Worldwide)

Aboard Artemis 1, Snoopy will don a unique miniature version of NASA’s Orion Crew Survival System (OCSS) pressure suit. The bright orange 10-by-7-inch (25 by 18 cm) garment was made from the same materials as the suits astronauts will wear on future Artemis missions.

During the planned three-week flight, Snoopy will leave Earth atop the first rocket in the Space Launch System (SLS) and travel further into space than any human-rated spacecraft has ever flown before. As an indicator of zero gravity, the doll will float above the mission “crew”, seated and strapped down: an instrumented mannequin named after an Apollo 13 engineer and two human “ghost” torsos collecting radiation data. and physical conditions. aboard the Orion capsule.

Snoopy will also fly with four LEGO minifigures, packed with other NASA-chosen memorabilia within the official Artemis 1 flight kit, including a pen from Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts studio wrapped in a space-themed comic strip.

NASA’s collaboration with Schulz and Peanuts Worldwide dates back to 1968, the year before Snoopy flew to the moon on Apollo 10. In the wake of a fire that claimed the lives of three astronauts on the launch pad, the NASA adopted Snoopy as a mascot and symbol of security. . Beginning with the Apollo 7 mission to this day, the agency has presented the “Silver Snoopy” award to employees and contractors whose work has ensured safe and successful human space flights.

In 2018, NASA and Peanuts signed a new agreement to expand the use of the characters to promote the agency’s deep space missions and efforts to engage students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. . In the three years since then, Snoopy, dressed in his orange spacesuit, has appeared in a new line of clothing and products, in children’s books, in an Apollo TV + series (“Snoopy in Space,” now in its second season), such as a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy and a giant character balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (returning this year on November 25).

On Monday (November 15), the web-based children’s video company GoNoodle will release “Snoopy’s Space Week,” which includes an original documentary about the making of Snoopy’s Artemis 1 spacesuit. At the same time, Young Minds Inspired (YMI) will offer teachers and parents free educational materials, including lesson plans on the Artemis 1 mission and Snoopy’s custom-made rags.

Snoopy dolls have flown into space before. In October 2019, an 8-inch-tall plush (manufactured and sold by Hallmark) was launched to the International Space Station on a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft. Two months later, a 19cm (7.5in) plush dressed in a white faux leather spacesuit with a red scarf and a brown communications cap (or as NASA calls it, a “Snoopy cap”) Beneath a clear plastic bubble hull it served as a zero-gravity indicator aboard OFT-1, the first unmanned test flight of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft.

Astronaut Snoopy in Artemis 1 is considered unique given the authentic nature of the doll’s flight uniform and represents the latest effort by Peanuts and NASA to engage and educate families about space exploration.

“My father felt that his association with NASA through the Peanuts was one of the two most important aspects of his life, the other was his service in WWII!” Schulz said. “So I am absolutely delighted that Peanuts is playing a continuing role in NASA’s 21st century exploration with Snoopy participating in the Artemis 1 mission.”

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