Shaun, the title character from the popular stop-motion Television series ‘Shaun the Sheep’ has been assigned a ticket on the Artemis I mission.
Artemis 1 is a planned uncrewed test flight for NASA’s Artemis program. It is the first flight of the agency’s Space Launch System super heavy-lift launch vehicle and the first flight of the Orion MPCV. As of July 2022, Artemis 1 is expected to be launched between 29 August and 5 September.
Shaun (the sheep) in a plush doll form — will fly well-beyond the moon on NASA’s uncrewed Orion spacecraft prior to returning to Earth in a little over a month’s time.
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Shaun’s inclusion in the Artemis I Official Flight Kit was arranged by the European Space Agency (ESA). ESA is providing the power-providing service module for the mission.
“This is an exciting time for Shaun and for us at ESA,” David Parker, director for human and robotic exploration at ESA, said in a statement released on Tuesday (Aug. 2). “We’re woolly very happy that he’s been selected for the mission and we understand that, although it might be a small step for a human, it’s a giant leap for lamb kind.”
ESA worked with Aardman, the animation studio behind the stop-motion sheep, to arrange for Shaun’s real-life space adventure.
“2022 marks the 15th anniversary of Shaun’s first TV series, so what better way to celebrate than by traveling farther than any sheep has gone before,” said Lucy Wendover, marketing director at Aardman
Shaun has now undergone even more “training,” traveling to various facilities in Europe and the US to “see” different aspects of the moon mission in preparation. His journey was documented and will be presented in a series of ESA blog posts leading up to the launch.
Shaun is not the only pop culture figure launching on board the inaugural Artemis flight. Four LEGO mini figures are also included in the OFK and a one-of-a-kind Snoopy doll based on the comic strip beagle is flying as the mission’s zero-gravity indicator.