CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (WHNT) – Shaun the Sheep, a popular stop-motion British tv character, will launch on the Artemis I mission scheduled for August 29.
The European Space Agency (ESA) made the announcement Tuesday that the woolly toy astronaut will fly on the uncrewed mission to orbit the moon and return to Earth.
Shaun the Sheep was created by Aardman Animations and was first introduced in a 1995 Wallace and Gromit short film ‘A Close Shave’ which won an Academy Award. The iconic character received his own show in 2007 and has starred in several other movies.
“This is an exciting time for Shaun and for us at ESA. 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 lambkind,” said ESA’s Director for Human and Robotic Exploration Dr. David Parker in the announcement.
Shaun also flew aboard an Airbus Zero-G A310 aircraft during a parabolic flight to experience the weightlessness felt in space (similar to a “vomit comet”).
At the announcement, Lucy Wendover, Marketing Director at Aardman said, “Aardman is excited to be joining ESA in making history by launching the first ‘sheep’ into space. As one of the first astronauts to fly an Artemis mission, Shaun is leading the way in lunar exploration, a great honor for our woolly adventurer! 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.”
ESA will have the latest on Shaun’s mission on their Orion Service Module blog.
Shaun will be joined by three NASA “passengers” in the Orion capsule. Commander Moonikan Campos, named after Arturo Campos who helped bring the Apollo 13 astronauts home in 1970 after an oxygen tank exploded in space, along with Helga and Zohar.
The three will help provide data on what future crew members may experience during space flight to help NASA protect astronauts on Artemis II and beyond.