The European Space Agency (ESA) has just announced who will be leading the Artemis I mission. It will be Shaun the Sheep! Yes, you read that right, the popular cartoon character, Shaun the Sheep will be going to space.
The Artemis I mission
The Artemis I mission will launch on Monday, August 29, and is going to carry an ESA European Service Module according to Aardman. The module will orbit the moon and circle it.
The mission won’t be carrying any human crew and will be controlled from the ground. NASA’s Orion spacecraft will take off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA by the Space Launch System according to Aardman.
First 'sheep' in space
The ESA's director for human and robotic exploration Dr David Parker said:
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.
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 honour for our woolly adventurer!
If you are worried that Shaun the Sheep is going in unprepared, don’t fret, he has gone through vigorous astronaut training. Indeed, in 2020 he started training as well as familiarising himself with the Orion spacecraft and its European Service Module as reported by Sky News.
Moreover, Shaun has travelled to various locations in Europe to complete his training and even got the chance to experience weightlessness aboard a special Airbus 'Zero G' A310 aircraft.
2022 marks the 15th anniversary of Shaun's first TV series, so what better way to celebrate than by travelling farther than any sheep has gone before.