San Diego, CA - September 14, 2009 - Just before the first man landed on the moon, Charlie Brown and Snoopy soared through space with NASA’s Apollo 10 mission in May 1969. To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA, now on display at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, examines the history of Apollo 10 and the Peanuts characters’ role in that flight and in the NASA Manned Flight Awareness safety program.
It is difficult to imagine - although some remember it well — the excitement that the race for the moon invoked forty years ago. As the decade of the 1960s was coming to a close, America and the rest of the world waited with great anticipation to see if NASA could achieve President John F. Kennedy's challenge, put forth in May 1961, of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Consequently, it was a very great honor, indeed, when the crew of Apollo 10 chose to nickname their command and lunar modules "Charlie Brown" and "Snoopy," respectively. The flight of Apollo 10 in May 1969 was the "dress rehearsal" for the lunar landing that was scheduled for July 1969. Astronauts Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan piloted "Snoopy" within 50,000 feet of the lunar surface as they scouted the landing area for Apollo 11 while John Young orbited the moon in the command module "Charlie Brown."
Charles Schulz's involvement with NASA actually started a year earlier than the 1969 flight of Apollo 10 when he was approached by NASA with a request to use Snoopy as their safety mascot. The Silver Snoopy Award program was instituted to improve the safety record of NASA employees and contractors. It proved to be a huge success with the astronauts and the employees. The Silver Snoopy pin is a much coveted award. Snoopy has been on the job for 40 plus years and continues to this day in his role as NASA’s safety mascot.
To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA, visitors will see Snoopy's trip to the moon in the March 1969 Peanuts strip series (beating NASA's record by a few months!), learn about the NASA’s Silver Snoopy Award program, and view a Silver Snoopy pin that was flown to the moon. The exhibit also contains a children's creative play space where children can dress up like an astronaut and have their photograph taken in a life-size Apollo 10 astronaut suit.
"This is an exciting addition to the San Diego Air & Space Museum," said Jim Kidrick, President & CEO of the Museum. "We present this exhibition to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of America's landing on the moon. It's only fitting we include 'Snoopy' since, during his lifetime, Charles Schulz influenced our nation's culture through the highest quality humor and satire. There are no other cartoon characters better known anywhere ... this is a must-see limited engagement exhibit."
For more information on the San Diego Air & Space Museum please visit: www.sandiegoairandspace.org.
The San Diego Air & Space Museum is California’s official air and space museum and education center. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and it was the first aero-themed Museum to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. Currently on display: THE DA VINCI EXPERIENCE, a special exhibition featuring remarkable reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous artwork and interactive replicas of his mechanical devices created more than 500 years ago. Visit www.sandiegoairandspace.org for more information. The Museum is located at 2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101. The Museum and gift store are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with admissions until 5:00 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
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