After a momentous journey through space, Snoopy, the famous character from comic strips and animated series, returned to Earth and NASA published a series of photos to celebrate the feat.
The famous white dog, at least a stuffed version, was part of the Artemis I mission, in which the Orion capsule orbited near Luna for several days at the end of December 2022 and recently returned to our planet.
“Snoopy was secured inside Orion during the Artemis I mission, a round trip beyond the Moon to prepare for manned missions to the Moon,” NASA reported in a post on its website.
Photos released by NASA taken show how the doll is carefully handled before being put back into its carry bag.
The images are the first time the doll has been seen up close since it was launched on the Artemis I mission on NASA's first Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on November 16, 2022.
During the 25.5-day flight, which covered more than 2.3 million kilometers around the Moon, Snoopy was only seen from afar, floating on the end of his strap at the bottom of the Orion crew cabin, seen from a camera mounted on the stern wall.
The new photos show that Snoopy returned healthy from space travel and with his trademark wide smile.
Snoopy has gone where no beagle has gone before.— NASA (@NASA) January 11, 2023
Following the successful conclusion of the #Artemis I Moon mission, @NASAGroundSys teams have begun unloading the payloads aboard, including the zero-gravity indicator #AstronautSnoopy. https://t.co/4133rM7suf pic.twitter.com/dwS7SgdMr1
The stuffed animal flew to the Moon and returned wearing a miniature version of NASA's Orion Crew Survival System (OCCS) pressure suit, made from some of the same materials used to produce the actual garments.
After landing off the coast of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula on December 11, Snoopy remained inside the Orion as it was transported by truck from the San Diego Naval Base in California to the Kennedy Space Center., in Florida. The craft was delivered to NASA's Multiple Payload Processing Facility on December 30.
Snoopy's mission in space
The custom-made stuffed animal served as the mission's “zero gravity indicator,” a tradition borrowed from the Russian space program that uses toys to signal when the spacecraft has entered the microgravity environment of space.
“In the lobby of the Neil Armstrong Operations and Review Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Snoopy, the zero-gravity indicator that flew aboard Orion during the Artemis I mission,” NASA explained. to the photograph of Snoopy.
According to the specialized Collect Space site, Snoopy's history with NASA goes back to the Apollo program, when illustrator Charles Schulz accepted that the character symbolize NASA's safety culture and the success of the missions. The Apollo 10 lunar module was named “Snoopy” and the “Silver Snoopy” is one of the highest honors NASA astronauts bestow on employees and contractors for their support in bringing them home safely.