During stressful launches, NASA’s jet Propulsion Laboratory mission control eats handfuls of peanuts for good luck. Peanuts have been a part of space exploration for a long time. A dedicated reader passed along the above Peanuts Snoopy astronaut action figure: Snoopy was the NASA Manned Flight Awareness Program mascot (with the blessing of Peanuts creator Charles Schultz) and spoke out for flight safety. NASA even awards a “Silver Snoopy Award” to employees and contractors for outstanding human flight safety achievements.
Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan of Apollo X named their Lunar Module (LM) Snoopy. The Command Service Module was named Charlie Brown.
The Apollo X mission was launched on May 18, 1969 and the mission was considered a dress rehearsal for the XI lunar landing later that year. Above, Mission Commander Stafford taps Snoopy’s nose for good luck.
This most lovable cartoon pup will always be a part of space exploration. Today a Snoopy statue sits in Kennedy Space Center’s Rocket Garden. The statue was donated by the Schulz family in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Space Agency.
Pups will always have their place in space exploration. The first earthling to orbit the home planet was Laika, the first of many Soviet space dogs. Additionally, my all-time favorite NASA crew patch is for STS-69 Mission: Dog Crew II. The crew had previously flown together on STS-53, the final space shuttle dedicated to the Department of Defense flight, and had named themselves the “dogs of war.” For STS-69, each crew member was assigned a “dog tag”: Commander David Walker – Red Dog; James Voss – Dogface; Ken Cockrell – Cujo; Michael Gernhardt – Under Dog; and James Newman – Pluto. The Dog Crew II patch features a bulldog peering out from a doghouse shaped like the Space Shuttle. They even ate their pre-launch breakfast out of dog bowls.
Who let the dogs out?