March 29, 2012

To Infinity and Beyond: Buzz Lightyear’s journey to the Smithsonian


NASA photograph by Tony Landis
The Disney-Pixar Buzz Lightyear space ranger action figure disembarks from Space Shuttle Discovery following its landing at Edwards Air Force Base Sept. 11, 2009.

The Disney space ranger Buzz Lightyear action figure that flew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on the STS-128 space shuttle mission in 2009 will soon be enshrined at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

The plastic representation of the of Buzz Lightyear character that was featured in the Disney-Pixar Toy Story animated movie series spent 15 months on the International Space Station before it was returned to Earth aboard Discovery which landed at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Sept. 11, 2009.

The museum will host a presentation with Pixar and NASA for a ceremonial donation of the Buzz Lightyear figure at noon, March 29 in the museum’s Moving Beyond Earth gallery 113.

Pixar’s chief creative officer John Lasseter will present the action figure to the museum, followed by a panel discussion with NASA and museum representatives accompanied by film clips of Buzz Lightyear in space. The Buzz Lightyear figure will go on display later this year in the Moving Beyond Earth gallery.

While on the space station, Buzz supported NASA’s education outreach program Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education emphasis by creating a series of fun educational online outreach programs. Following his return, Disney joined with NASA to create a new online educational game and an online mission patch competition for school kids across America.

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