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Monday, July 25, 2005

NASA Prepares for 'Return to Flight'

This is an exciting time for NASA. On Tuesday, July 26 at 10:39 AM EDT, they will be sending up the first shuttle mission since the tragic loss of the Columbia in February 2003. Not many people realize this, but when NASA was originally planning its “Return to Flight”, they were going to commemorate it by sending up a celebrity with the astronauts.

“We took a poll to see which celebrity people would most like to see be launched into orbit.” says NASA administrator Michael Griffin, “We received hundreds of responses and the vast majority recommended Michael Moore, but only if we left him there.”

NASA went to work trying to see if the feat was possible. The maximum weight capacity of the space shuttle discovery is 24,400 Kilograms, or about 27 tons. This is just barely above what would be needed to carry Michael Moore into space.

The next big challenge was how to get him into the spacecraft. “The elevator the astronauts use would exceed its maximum allowable capacity.” says Paul Hill, lead flight director at JSC, “We thought we might be able to load Mr. Moore using the crane in the vehicle assembly building but that would mean keeping him onboard until the launch. Our biggest fear was that he might start eating the spacecraft.”

The idea was finally scrapped when scientists calculated the amount of food that the crew would have to bring along in order to keep Michael Moore from eating the crew’s rations. “They told us that he would last for less than 20 minutes on what keeps us going for 16 days.” says mission commander Eileen Collins. “He would literally eat us out of house and home.”

-SeanS reporting for FNN, the fake news network.

Day By Day© by Chris Muir.