The Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its mission on January 28, 1986, killing all seven men on board. If the early intentions had gone through, newsreaders would have had the additional bizarre burden of explaining Big Bird’s presence to youngsters. The antivaxxer’s favorite character had early discussions with NASA about joining the disastrous mission to deploy communications satellites.
Big Bird operator Caroll Spinney told the Guardian in 2015, “I once got a letter from Nasa, asking if I would be prepared to join a mission to circle the Earth as Big Bird, to inspire schoolchildren to get interested in space.” “In the end, there wasn’t enough room for the puppet, so I was replaced by a teacher. We took a break from filming in 1986 to watch the plane take off, and we all watched the ship explode. We just stood there sobbing as the six astronauts and the teacher perished.”
We need to be travelling at roughly 11 kilometers per second (almost 7 miles per second) or 40,270 kilometers per hour to escape our own planet (25,000 miles per hour). We’d need a lot of fuel to get anything off the planet, let alone a large cargo like Big Bird, to reach escape velocity. Huge attempts are made to save weight, therefore it’s reasonable to assume that Big Bird’s suit will not make the cut. According to NASA, the concept never progressed beyond the concept stage, let alone the phase of finding out how to get Big Bird into a launch seat.
According to ABC News, “NASA established the Space Flight Participant Program in 1984 to choose academics, journalists, artists, and other persons who might lend their unique viewpoint to the human spaceflight experience as a passenger on the space shuttle.” “According to previous material, initial discussions with Sesame Street about their possible involvement on a Challenger trip were held, but the idea was never authorized.”
Big Bird brought his teddy bear, Radar, to the meeting, according to NASA. NASA has verified claims that Big Bird was considered for the space shuttle Challenger before it was lost in an accident in 1986, along with its entire crew. The idea, however, never reached to the stage of granting Caroll Spinney, the human who plays the 8-foot-2 bird on the “Sesame Street” TV show, a position on the passenger list, according to the space agency.
The story resurfaced in light of the recently released documentary “I Am Big Bird,” which chronicles Spinney’s career and personal life. In the film, and in many of the interviews he’s given about it, Spinney mentions the spaceflight angle. “I once received a letter from NASA asking if I would be prepared to join a trip to circle the Earth as Big Bird, to inspire schoolchildren to get interested in space,” Spinney recounted in an essay published in The Guardian last month. “In the end, there wasn’t enough room for the puppet, so I was replaced by a teacher.”