You must have seen Shaun the Sheep, a popular animated character. During our childhood, the show had captivated us completely. Now a puppet form of Shaun has been given a seat as an “astronaut” on the Artemis I mission to the moon. The European Space Agency (ESA) announced this on Tuesday.
dr. David Parker, the director of ESAs The Human and Robotic Exploration Department has announced the assignment of Shaun the Sheep. According to space.com, the mission will launch later this month. Shaun the sheep – in pop form – will travel far beyond the moon aboard NASA’s unmanned Orion spacecraft before returning to Earth in just over a month.
Shaun was included in the Artemis 1 official flying kit of the ESA, who also developed the mission’s power module.
Artemis I will be a crewless mission that will fly through our natural satellite on the NASA Orion spacecraft with an attached ESA service module.
“Shaun’s mission assignment completes the first phase for the newest members of our astronaut corps, with Italian ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti currently on the International Space Station on her second spaceflight, Danish ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen for his second flight and before we introduce our new astronauts from the 2021 call for selection later this year,” said Dr. Parker.
“This is an exciting time for Shaun and for us at ESA. We are thrilled that he has been selected for the mission and we understand that while it may be a small step for a human, it is a giant leap for the lamb child,” he added.
NASA announced that Artemis I could launch as early as August 23 after the next-generation SLS rocket passed a successful fuel test. The mission will take Shaun and Commander Moonikin Campos beyond the moon aboard the agency’s Orion spacecraft, a report in Engadget said.
The Space Launch System will take off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA, with Orion and its European service module. Before firing the top stage of the rocket and launching the spacecraft into translunar orbit, the spacecraft will enter low Earth orbit.
If all goes according to plan, the capsule should land on Earth after 39 to 42 days. The spacecraft will perform a flight past the moon, using the moon’s gravity to gain speed and propel itself 70 000 km past the moon, nearly half a million km from Earth – further than any human or sheep has ever traveled,” ESA said in a statement.