Monday, October 05, 2009

Buzz Lightyear Returns from Space

You all know Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear. But did you know the space ranger actually took a trip into outer space? Last year, NASA took a 12-inch action figure of Buzz Lightyear on an STS-124 rocket to live on the International Space Station (ISS) with astronauts from around the world. For 15 months, from May 31, 2008 to September 11, 2009, Buzz was aboard the ISS as astronauts performed various experiments from biological to chemical. Nations like Japan, Russia, Sweden, Germany, Canada and others all have representatives aboard this massive station that serves as a symbol of international unity and harmony.

You might have heard that Cirque du Soleil creator Guy Laliberté just blasted off into space for his Poetic Social Mission—it seems everyone is getting in on the space craze! Once the Buzz Lightyear figure returned he was brought back to the Magic Kingdom where both toy Buzz and the REAL Buzz were honored with a ticker tape parade. Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, lead the parade in a 1969 Camaro convertible along with Mike Fincke, former commander of the space station. Kids and adults lined the streets cheering the men on as the parade made its way through Tomorrowland.

In this great quote from the Orlando Sentinel we got a look into Aldrin’s humor regarding his space ranger competitor. “Aldrin said he briefed Buzz Lightyear before the doll was launched into space in May 2008 aboard space shuttle Discovery. ‘I said, now look, don't you forget, I'm the real Buzz,’ Aldrin said, looking serious.”

Disney plans to continue bringing awareness to its company through space education and promotion of Buzz Lightyear. They are working with NASA in a competition that will have children design a new patch for astronauts. The winner of this competition gets a trip to the Kennedy Space Center and Walt Disney World. Disney is also working with NASA on an educational space-themed video game. Disney is apparently working with the Smithsonian Institute to get a permanent exhibit over at the National Air and Space Museum. Buzz Lightyear is here to stay.


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