Cape Canaveral, Fla., May 29, 2008 - The countdown has begun for Buzz Lightyear's dream come true.
Disney Parks and NASA - The National Aeronautics and Space Administration - are sending the beloved action figure "to infinity and beyond!" Buzz Lightyear will buckle in and 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.
With Buzz will launch the aspiration of millions of schoolchildren 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 US economic competitiveness and technological leadership.
During the mission, the 12-inch-high, self-proclaimed defender of the galaxy will join in mission activities, including a spacewalk in zero gravity, and experience the same G-forces and weightlessness the astronauts do, helping to introduce fun elements from space into science and math classrooms across the country.
Buzz's groundbreaking mission into space also coincides the launch of his latest debut on Earth in Toy Story Mania!, Disney Parks new attraction which opens May 31 at Walt Disney World, Florida and June 17 at Disneyland Resort, California.
"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."
Developed by Disney's Youth Educational Series (Disney Y.E.S.) and NASA, the program will feature materials for educators to download and integrate into their classroom curriculum as well as fun online educational games. Upon visiting the site, educators and school kids will find interactive lessons on testing zero gravity, critical thinking and simple mathematical problem-solving equations tied to each key component of the mission. The program will be hosted at www.nasa.gov from launch until the end of 2008 as part of Buzz's mission to the International Space Station.
"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 Disney World 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, please visit http://www.nasa.gov/ .
This article courtesy of MagicalMountain.net. Thanks Babs for the heads up!