Having spent his entire young life soaring around make-believe galaxies using his fold-out wings and a backpack rocket, Buzz Lightyear would have never guessed he would someday become a real Space hero, earning the honor of the longest serving Astronaut in Space.
Buzz Lightyear's adventure began in May 2008, when he launched into Space aboard NASA's STS-124. His mission? To inspire children all across the world to study science, technology and mathematics, through the Space Ranger Education Series developed by NASA in collaboration with Disney's Youth Educational Series.
The diminuitive 12-inch hero did not rest even during the flight - In fact he didn't even ask for a seat, spending his time floating around the spacecraft to ensure all was in order.
While the space hero was originally supposed to return in six months, his 'mission', was so successful that NASA extended it - indefinitely!
When he finally returned to Earth aboard Shuttle Discovery on September 11th, Buzz had spent a total of 467 days in space, 30 days more than the previous record holder - Russian Cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov.
To honor his long and successful mission, Buzz will get a special ticker tape parade at Orlando's Disney World on October 2nd. Among the participants will be some of his astronaut crewmates, his namesake Buzz Aldrin, the second man to step on the moon and of course his Toy Story buddies. To learn more about Buzz's mission and play some really fun games, check out his site at www.nasa.gov/Buzz_Lightyear.
Disney and NASA soon plan to announce a contest for students to design a 'Buzz Lightyear Mission Patch', that will be used for a future space mission - Stay tuned for details!
sources: wired.com, nasa.gov,wdinfo.com