Buzz Lightyear takes Space Shuttle to Infinity and Beyond

Buzz LightyearBuzz Lightyear’s dream of going “to infinity and beyond” will finally come true this weekend when Disney Parks and NASA send the 12-inch-tall action figure to space aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-124 launching from Kennedy Space Center on May 31 at 5:02 p.m. ET (subject to schedule changes).

The launch coincides with the opening of Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s new “edu-tainment” program the “Space Ranger Education Series”. Disney, Pixar and NASA have teamed up to get school children excited about the sciences. The series, hosted at www.nasa.gov, will be available throughout 2008.

The folks at Disney are deservedly proud of this achievement. I’ve received this story from four separate sources at the Mouse House. It’s a pretty great program and hopefully will inspire many of today’s students to become tomorrow’s scientists.

A short video schools can use to highlight the program and the full press release is below the cut:

To Infinity and Beyond! Disney Parks and NASA Send Buzz Lightyear into Space

–Mission Coincides with “Launch” of New Educational Initiative and the Debut of Toy Story Midway Mania! at Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts–

Cape Canaveral, Fla., May 29, 2008 – It’s a dream come true for Buzz Lightyear as Disney Parks and NASA send the 12-inch-tall action figure “to infinity and beyond!” Buzz Lightyear will blast off aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-124. Liftoff from Kennedy Space Center is scheduled for 5:02 p.m. ET on May 31.

Buzz’s dream of going “to infinity and beyond” will finally come true during the mission when — with the help of the crew — he will fly in zero gravity inside the International Space Station as part of NASA’s “Toys in Space” initiative. Through this program, Buzz will help introduce fun elements from space into science and math classrooms across the country.

With Buzz will launch the aspiration of millions of school children who dream of space travel. STS-124 will coincide with the kickoff of the Space Ranger Education Series – part of NASA’s “Toys in Space,” an educational program for teachers and students. The program builds on NASA’s educational goals of encouraging students to pursue studies in science, technology and mathematics (STEM) subjects, which are vitally important in sustaining U.S. economic competitiveness and technological leadership.

Developed by Disney and NASA, “Toys in Space” features materials for educators to download and integrate into their classroom curriculum as well as online, educational games linked to each key component of the mission. The series, hosted at www.nasa.gov, will be available throughout 2008.

“NASA is excited to help students understand the science and engineering currently underway on the International Space Station,” said Dr. Joyce Winterton, NASA Assistant Administrator for Education. “The educational games and resources from this partnership will allow students to explore the science and math behind space exploration with a beloved character.”

Buzz’s groundbreaking mission into space also coincides the launch of his latest debut on earth in Toy Story Midway Mania!, Disney Parks new attraction that opens May 31 at Walt Disney World in Florida and June 17 at Disneyland Resort in California.

“The Space Ranger Education Series will give teachers an opportunity to incorporate a fun and engaging moment into the classroom with a character that children really love,” said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “We’re pleased to join NASA in creating a program that can help keep kids excited about math and science.”

Buzz’s Space Itinerary

Buzz will spend several months in space at the International Space Station (ISS) testing the limits of zero gravity before returning home to a hero’s welcome at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida later this year. While in space, Buzz will participate in an experiment flying in zero gravity and appear in a video downlink from the ISS.

The Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-124 will travel with seven astronauts to install Kibo’s large Japanese Pressurized Module (JPM) and the lab’s robotic arm system.

For additional information about the educational series and NASA programs, guests may visit www.nasa.gov.

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4 Responses to Buzz Lightyear takes Space Shuttle to Infinity and Beyond

  1. Jensonb says:

    Can we watch that launch online? I’d love to see Buzz going up

  2. Mike says:

    Watching the 10 Shuttle/Space Station astronauts eat dinner and play with Buzz Lightyear … it is amazing to watch them do their job and keep Buzz entertained … seems like Buzz is having a great time too! NASA TV has excellent coverage of the Space Station/Space Shuttle crews – and they are sharing their time with Buzz Lightyear! Great idea!

  3. Kerry says:

    My son William reminded me of Buzz’s shuttle mission which we watched together. He asked when Buzz will be returning, as I had told him I heard about a big parade in Disney when Buzz comes home.
    Please let me know the date and if tickets are available. We live in Florida, so attending would be easy.
    Thanks,
    Kerry

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