Lightsaber to be carried on Space Shuttle Discovery

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ONA
Wackbag Staff
Aug 14, 2000
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SPACE

Luke Skywalker's Lightsaber
By Robert Z. Pearlman


posted: 28 August 2007
10:34 a.m. ET

When the space shuttle Discovery launches the STS-120 astronaut crew in October, the force will be with them.

Stowed on-board the orbiter, in addition to a new module for the International Space Station, will be the original prop lightsaber used by actor Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in the 1977 film "Star Wars". The laser-like Jedi weapon is being flown to the orbiting outpost and back in honor of the 30th anniversary of director George Lucas' franchise.

Before it can make its trip to orbit though, the lightsaber will first fly to Houston, Texas, home of NASA's Johnson Space Center, by way of Southwest Airlines and a Star Wars-studded send off from Oakland International Airport in California on Tuesday.

Chewbacca, the towering Wookiee best known from the film as Han Solo's co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon, will officially hand the lightsaber over to officials from Space Center Houston during a ceremony at the airport. Joining "Chewie" will be other characters from the six-part sci-fi classic, including Boba and Jango Fett and together they help push back the airplane on the tarmac.

Once on the ground in Houston, the flight will be greeted by a troop of Stormtroopers and other Star Wars notables including the droid R2-D2, who will deliver the lightsaber to a waiting line of Hummers outside the baggage claim of the William P. Hobby Airport. Accompanied by a police escort, the soon-to-be real space artifact will be driven to Space Center Houston to be exhibited inside a vault that currently displays moon rocks.

Space Center Houston, as the official visitor center for NASA's Johnson Space Center, plans to publicly display the lightsaber through Labor Day, after which it will be prepared for its launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The lightsaber is scheduled to depart California at 10:40 a.m. PDT and arrive in Texas at 4:20 p.m. CDT according to a release jointly issued Monday by Southwest Airlines, Space Center Houston and Lucasfilm.

STS-120, targeted for launch on October 23, will be led by commander Pam Melroy and pilot George Zamka. The seven-person crew is completed by mission specialists Scott Parazynski, Doug Wheelock, Stephanie Wilson and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli, as well as space station Expedition 16 flight engineer Dan Tani. Besides the lightsaber, their primary cargo is the station's second Italian-built U.S. multi-port node named Harmony.

Return to collectSPACE on Tuesday, August 28 for pictures from the Houston arrival of the lightsaber and its delivery to the space center.
 

martianvirus

READY THE ANALPROBES!!!!!!!!
Nov 20, 2005
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I wish they would quit this joke of a cover-up for the real space program. What horse-shit.
 

THE FEZ MAN

as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Aug 23, 2002
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what ever it takes to make kids what to go into space im all for it. no matter how hokie
 

blee

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Dec 9, 2004
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Wow, I am a big Star Wars fan and that is just corny and dumb.
 

Warfarer

I can't think of anything funny.
Jun 20, 2005
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#6
Why do I see Ocean's Twelve in this? While a knockoff is used during the ceremonies, the original will just be driven over by some guy.
 

MJMANDALAY

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Nice to see good money put to good use :icon_roll
 

jackjack

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what ever it takes to make kids what to go into space im all for it. no matter how hokie
Yeah, I see your point, but why isn't space exploration cool enough on its own without some dumb fucking movie prop? If that's what it takes to get new people interested, I think we're doomed in yet another way.
 

martianvirus

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Nov 20, 2005
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Yeah, I see your point, but why isn't space exploration cool enough on its own without some dumb fucking movie prop? If that's what it takes to get new people interested, I think we're doomed in yet another way.
Because it's not space exploration. It's launch, orbit, land. If we were really exploring, kids would be into it. Even young kids know that the space shuttle is a scam.
 

PunchYourself187

I, The Operator
Apr 24, 2004
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#10
I wish they would quit this joke of a cover-up for the real space program. What horse-shit.
They are finishing the Space Shuttle Program up in 2010 - Endeavour is set to fly the last mission (STS-130). At that point, all of the Space Shuttles will be decommissioned. Then they are starting with Orion-class spacecraft which, in my opinion, look very similar to what NASA used in the Apollo Program.

I don't really like that they take nonsense items up there with them. On this last Endeavour flight, they took 10 million cinnamon basil seeds up with them and back. They are to be distributed among the nations school students. Why? What for? How much money did that cost us?

The big problem with The Space Shuttle Program is that they never gave the public any kind of visible goal. Like with The Apollo Program, the goal was to land on the moon. With The Space Shuttle Program, NASA didn't even bother to work the International Space Station angle with the public - that's not as interesting as landing on the Moon or another planet, but it's still something. Instead they tried to work these milestone angles, like The First Teacher in Space Program or having the first married couple in space.

With that being said, NASA is still my favorite government program/organization.
 

martianvirus

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Look at what our government did with jets. When they told us about the F-117, it had already been in use for 10 years with nobody knowing a thing about it. I find it hard to believe that our government didn't spend a ton of black-budget dollars on space programs. They kept the shuttle around for over 30 years, and are only replacing it because they know the people are sick of it. This new Orion project is just another version of a dumbed down space program to cover up the real one. I would bet you that our government has been to all the planets in our solar system, and perhaps even out of our solar system. I know it's hard to believe for some people. I've always thought this about the space program. Then one day I heard John Lear talk about it. Mr Lear and others seam to believe it also.
 

PunchYourself187

I, The Operator
Apr 24, 2004
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#12
I don't know about us traveling to all of the planets, but I'm sure you're right about black-ops in space. Like I'm sure we have missiles in space.

I think if we had the capability to travel to other planets, you would see smaller versions of that technology in some form. One of the big problems with the Space Program is that there is so much bureaucracy that comes along with it. The reason why we were able to pull off what we did in the 1960's so quickly is because we didn't put a project on hold if someone decided that a different electrical panel was required. Now you have to check with everybody and sometimes, to avoid that kind of bureaucracy, those minor problems are ignored. And then you lose two probes and Mars rover after years of hard work and god knows how much money.
 

FAngel

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Mar 2, 2005
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#13
Spayshuddel Discovereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Someone had to say it.:icon_mrgr
 

Angelfuck

Part of the Ronnie B. crowd
Jan 6, 2006
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#14
more importantly, theyre bringing an italian nome with them

Look at what our government did with jets. When they told us about the F-117, it had already been in use for 10 years with nobody knowing a thing about it. I find it hard to believe that our government didn't spend a ton of black-budget dollars on space programs. They kept the shuttle around for over 30 years, and are only replacing it because they know the people are sick of it. This new Orion project is just another version of a dumbed down space program to cover up the real one. I would bet you that our government has been to all the planets in our solar system, and perhaps even out of our solar system. I know it's hard to believe for some people. I've always thought this about the space program. Then one day I heard John Lear talk about it. Mr Lear and others seam to believe it also.
nah man, that would actually be a good thing, what theyre really spending our tax dollars on is building giant nuclear missiles in space in preparation for the final world war

seriously though, considering nasa's not even as old as my mom its not surprising they haven't accomplished much, especially knowing how long it takes to get something done in this country
 

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
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#16
I'm also getting tired of this huge Mars push. Mars is a dead world, a money sink. We need to make a push for Europa where we might actually find some sort of life.
 

martianvirus

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I'm also getting tired of this huge Mars push. Mars is a dead world, a money sink. We need to make a push for Europa where we might actually find some sort of life.
There are more things on Mars then you think.;)
 

GonzoRadio

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Nov 26, 2005
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#18
Some replies, in no particular order and to no particular people:

1. I am not a Star Wars fan (hate the movie actually), but i bet that there are lots of people out there that are interested in space exploration, at least in part, because of the movie. Unless the thing weighs a few hundred pounds and takes loads of shelf space, I don't see what the big deal is in paying a little homage to the movie.

2. We accomplished so much in the 60s because we were willing to spend ANY amount of money to get things accomplished (i.e. travel to the moon) in order to beat the Soviets. With no competition, its a lot harder justifying these projects to the American public. Yes, I know....if we took the money we spent in Iraq we could [INSERT BIG BUDGET PROJECT HERE]. Still, that's the reason we don't see those types of projects coming from NASA (until China does it, then we'll see those again).

3. I don't think we have secret space projects. We're not seeing anything spectacular because (I believe) technology to grow logarithmically (click for definition). Airplanes from the 60's were far better than airplanes from the 20's, but not far different than what we have today. Computers of the late 90's were far better than computers of the late 80s, but not far different than what we have today, etc.

Space exploration, at least as we know it today, will improve much slower than it did in the 50s and 60s.
 

martianvirus

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3. I don't think we have secret space projects. We're not seeing anything spectacular because (I believe) technology to grow logarithmically (click for definition). Airplanes from the 60's were far better than airplanes from the 20's, but not far different than what we have today. Computers of the late 90's were far better than computers of the late 80s, but not far different than what we have today, etc.
Do you realize that computers double in speed every 2 years? I guess you don't.
 

GonzoRadio

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Nov 26, 2005
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Do you realize that computers double in speed every 2 years? I guess you don't.
1. No, the number of transistors doubles every two years, which does not necessarily translate to a doubling of speed. In fact, that pesky thermodynamics is getting in the way, which is why you're not seeing 6Ghz computers now. They had to increase the number of CPU cores, each working at the same speeds we had 4 years ago.

2. While computers are undoubtedly faster than they were 10 years ago, how much more work are you accomplishing? Does Office 2007 let you type more papers than office 97? The measure of performance is not how many clock cycles your computer can churn out, but how much work you actually get done.
 

Angelfuck

Part of the Ronnie B. crowd
Jan 6, 2006
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#23
there's no doubt they fuck with us though, they put one product up for sale as they are halfway through developing an upgrade, that can be said for any product and they do it little by little to secure the future of the company, especially with video games :( one thing that sucks about competition is that while it drives productivity it also limits the amount of ideas and developments shared between companies working on the same product, which is why our medicine stinks. and yet I dont think any of this applies to the space program
 

Budyzir

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Nov 12, 2004
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#24
In general, looks like some marketing "pros" finally got some juice in NASA. All the little Star Wars appearances reek of it. BUT, maybe they need to do it that way, the general ignorance of any form of science in this country may require it today. I'm at the point of thinking that anything that makes a kid wonder about something, anything is worth it

what ever it takes to make kids what to go into space im all for it. no matter how hokie
:clap::clap::clap::clap:

Yeah, I see your point, but why isn't space exploration cool enough on its own without some dumb fucking movie prop? If that's what it takes to get new people interested, I think we're doomed in yet another way.
But if it lights the smallest of embers in some kid's mind it's worth it. We need the next generation of scientists.

On this last Endeavour flight, they took 10 million cinnamon basil seeds up with them and back. They are to be distributed among the nations school students. Why? What for? How much money did that cost us?
What do you think the weight requirement was those seeds? Marginal, maybe , when compared to all the other things they carried. But, again, it goes back to trying to develop a future generation of scientists.


The big problem with The Space Shuttle Program is that they never gave the public any kind of visible goal. Like with The Apollo Program, the goal was to land on the moon. With The Space Shuttle Program, NASA didn't even bother to work the International Space Station angle with the public - that's not as interesting as landing on the Moon or another planet, but it's still something. Instead they tried to work these milestone angles, like The First Teacher in Space Program or having the first married couple in space.
Maybe the Shuttle program didn't produce a break through technology but, I have no doubt that it added advances to reusable space technology and, it did support the ISS which is developing it's own science and advances for living in space.

... We accomplished so much in the 60s because we were willing to spend ANY amount of money to get things accomplished (i.e. travel to the moon) in order to beat the Soviets. With no competition, its a lot harder justifying these projects to the American public. Yes, I know....if we took the money we spent in Iraq we could [INSERT BIG BUDGET PROJECT HERE]. Still, that's the reason we don't see those types of projects coming from NASA (until China does it, then we'll see those again).
Excellent point both with the space race against the Soviets in the 60s and the future race we may see against the Chinese.

With respect to all, as I see it today, kids are neither challenged or inspired. I'm not an educator but I do see what our educational system produces. What we need is to inspire some kids to jump just a little higher than the bar that was set for them. If this stunt does the trick, well done to NASA.