One giant leap for lamb-kind! Shaun the Sheep prepares to head into space on Artemis I

·1-min read
ESA/Aardman-SJM photography/Cover Images

Shaun the Sheep will become an astronaut when the Artemis I spacecraft finally blasts into space, with its delayed launch currently planned for Saturday.

The woolly pioneer will boldly go where no sheep has gone before as he has been assigned a seat on the unmanned mission to the Moon - a precursor for missions taking humans to the lunar surface after an absence of more than 50 years.

He'll take his giant leap for lamb-kind after experiencing some of the same 'training' as real human astronauts, including being handed an astronaut's toolbox of knowledge for the first Artemis mission, including life and physical sciences in 'weightless' conditions, engineering and medical skills, as well as orbital mechanics and survival training.

He even got exclusive access to the Large Diameter Centrifuge based at ESA's ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. This spinning device is devoted to research that gives scientists access to high acceleration levels for minutes, days or even weeks on end.

Shaun will be joined on Artemis I by Helga and Zohar, two plastic bodies filled with over 5,600 sensors each to measure the radiation load during their trip around the Moon.

NASA will target 2:17 p.m. EST Saturday as the beginning of a two-hour window, for the launch of Artemis I, the first integrated test of NASA's Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and the ground systems at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Artemis I was originally supposed to launch on Tuesday morning but engine 3 of the rocket's four engines did not exhibit the expected hydrogen bleed and engineers were not able to resolve it in time.