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NASA

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Space center
Kermit at the Johnson Space Center in 2005.
Moon.kermit
Promotional photo from Kermit's visit to Johnson Space Center.
Skeeter Spaceshuttle
Skeeter and Fozzie watch a shuttle launch.
3697i
Sesame Street credits NASA for their "Slimey to the Moon" arc in 1998.
SoichiNoguchi
Soichi Noguchi films a Sesame Street segment in space.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an agency of the United States government, responsible for the nation's public space program. Established on July 29, 1958, by the National Aeronautics and Space Act. NASA often works with space agencies from foreign countries such as Japan and Russia for a number of missions.

In addition to the space program, it is also responsible for long-term civilian and military aerospace research. Since February 2006 NASA's self-described mission statement is to "pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research."

Appearances

  • Several astronauts or NASA employees have appeared in Muppet/Sesame productions:
  • In 1981, as part of NASA's morning wake-up call tradition, the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia, part of the STS-2 mission, were greeted by Pigs in Space on two consecutive mornings. Specially recorded by the Muppet performers for this occasion, two separate comedy routines were heard, one on the morning of November 13, and another on November 14.[1]
  • In a 1992 "Wish You Were Here" segment on Sesame Street, Gabi and Miles take a tour of the Kennedy Space Center. They learn about how rockets are launched into space, along with a group of other kids. Miles works at Mission Control, while Gabi pretends to be an astronaut.

Big Bird scheduled on Challenger

In the mid-1980s, NASA approached Children's Television Workshop in the interest of getting "the children of America to be more interested in [the space program]".[2] Caroll Spinney was meant to go into space on board the Space Shuttle Challenger scheduled for launch in 1986. Sequences were to be filmed with Big Bird, but the task of sending the puppet suit proved too complicated, and the educator slot was filled by Christa McAuliffe.

Spinney wrote about the events in his 2003 memoir, The Wisdom of Big Bird, but the material was cut by the publishers on the grounds that the story was too depressing[3] (Challenger exploded just moments after lift-off). Press materials for I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story hint at the possibility of the inclusion of material from Spinney's experience with NASA in the in-development documentary.[4]

Atlantis Launch

Elmo NASA People
Elmo with the crew of STS-135: Chris Ferguson (commander), Rex Walheim (mission specialist 2), Doug Hurley (pilot), and Sandra Magnus (mission specialist 1).

Elmo appeared at Cape Canaveral, Florida during the week leading up to the final launch of NASA's shuttle program on July 8, 2011. He spoke with astronaut Leland Melvin, interviewed Mike Massimino and Douglas H. Wheelock for a press event, and tweeted updates on the Sesame Street Twitter account.

Videos
  • Elmo outside the shuttle hangar
  • Elmo in his flight suit
  • Elmo in the shuttle cockpit
  • Elmo in "Zero-G"
  • Elmo at Mission Control
  • Camilla Corona, the mission mascot for the Solar Dynamics Observatory
  • Elmo and Leland Melvin
  • Elmo and Leland Melvin
  • Elmo and Leland Melvin
  • Elmo and Leland Melvin
  • Elmo and Mike Massimino
  • Elmo and Mike Massimino
  • Elmo, Mike Massimino and Douglas H. Wheelock
  • Elmo, Mike Massimino and Douglas H. Wheelock
  • Elmo, Mike Massimino and Douglas H. Wheelock

References

Cameo.rudman02
Telling the Truth
Saturn V dictionary
A Saturn V in The Sesame Street Dictionary.
M11 Saturn V model
Walter and Gary's Saturn V model.
1976 Kennedy Space Center
  • Bert watches a shuttle launch at the Kennedy Space Center in The Sesame Street 1976 Calendar.
  • A Saturn V rocket appears in The Sesame Street Dictionary to illustrate the definition of the word "rocket".
  • Sesame Street's WASA, the Worm Air and Space Agency, is a version of NASA staffed entirely by worms.
  • Telly's uncle and others appear as NASA employees in the Sesame Street video Telling the Truth.
  • Heel Arfstrong from Dog City is a parody of NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong.
  • In Farscape, John Crichton is a an astronaut for IASA, a fictional organization modeled after NASA. Crichton's father Jack is a retired NASA astronaut.
  • In a 1998 episode of Sesame Street, Gordon described the first moon mission, with footage from NASA.
  • Muppet Babies used many pieces of stock footage from NASA. Baby Skeeter watches the launch of a space shuttle in the episode "Remote Control Cornballs."
  • During a September 20, 2011 appearance on Good Morning America, Cookie Monster was watching the skies, looking out for satellites. This was a reference to the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite expected to crash around September 23 of that year.
  • In The Muppets, Walter and Gary have a model of the Saturn V rocket, the only vehicle that has ever carried humans beyond low Earth orbit.

Trivia

  • In January 2010, Cookie Monster wrote on Sesame Street's offical Twitter account, "Sometimes Moon look like giant cookie. Must look into joining space program." NASA responded a short time later from their official Twitter feed with information on how to join the space program.[5]
  • A rubber chicken named Camilla Corona is the mascot of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. "Camilla", named after Camilla the Chicken from The Muppet Show, and "Corona" for the sun's plasma atmosphere.[6] Elmo had his picture taken with Camilla during his visit to NASA in July 2011 (see gallery on this article).

Sources

  1. Fries, Colin. Chronology of Wake-up Calls, NASA History Office PDF document
  2. "Spinney cycle" by Jerry Rice. Mar. 16, 2006. Variety
  3. BAM! Event Report by Danny Horn. November 2004. Tough Pigs
  4. iambigbird.com Official Website. Copper Pot Pictures
  5. "Cookie Monster storms Twitter as @sesamestreet gains a following", LA Times blogs, April 9, 2010.
  6. personal communication via Scott Hanson

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