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Shaun the Sheep is now Shaun the ESA astronaut

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World beloved Aardman character Shaun the Sheep is about of an all recent adventure, having been named because the European Space Agency’s first astronaut to take part in Nasa’s Artemis Moon program.

ESA announced Shaun’s addition to the astronaut Corps Monday morning, potentially lower than 30 days from the launch of Artemis I, Nasa’s first test flight of the US space agency’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft.

“That is an exciting time for Shaun and for us at ESA,” ESA Director for Human and Robotic Exploration David Parker said in an announcement. “We’re woolly very completely happy that he’s been chosen for the mission and we understand that, even though it is perhaps a small step for a human, it’s a large leap for lambkind.”

It won’t be Shaun’s first experience with space travel, as ESA notes an area agency team supervised the sheep’s playing the role of an astronaut within the 2019 film “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon.”

“It offered insight into the rigorous training that every one astronauts undertake to organize for spaceflight,” ESA announced in an announcement, “which he’ll now experience for real.”

Artemis I consists of Nasa’s 322-foot-tall heavy-lift Moon rocket and the Orion Spacecraft, which Nasa hopes will lift off from launch complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center as early as 29 August, with back up launch windows on 2 September and 5 September. The mission will send Orion — and Shaun — on a course looping around and beyond the Moon before returning to Earth to splash down within the ocean after 39 to 42 days in space, depending on the launch date the mission actually blasts off.

“The spacecraft will perform a flyby of the Moon, using lunar gravity to realize speed and propel itself 70 000 km beyond the Moon, almost half one million km from Earth,” and ESA statement read, “farther than any human, or sheep, has ever travelled.”

But Shaun won’t fly solo within the Orion Spacecraft . He’ll join Nasa’s data-gathering “Moonikins,” Arturo Campus, an information gathering mannequin named after an electrical engineer that helped bring Apollo 13 home in 1970, in addition to Helga and Zohar.

These being humanoid mannequins, nonetheless, Shaun’s flight will still break recent ground despite his having company on the journey.

“Lucy Wendover, Marketing Director at Aardman says, “Aardman is worked up to be joining ESA in making history by launching the primary ‘sheep’ into space,” Aardman marketing director Lucy Wendover said in an announcement. “2022 marks the fifteenth anniversary of Shaun’s first TV series, so what higher solution to rejoice than by travelling farther than any sheep has gone before.”

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