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Submission + - Fortieth Anniversary of Snoopy's Flight to Moon

Hugh Pickens writes: "Snoopy, the irreverent dog from the "Peanuts" comic strip, took time from his World War I dogfights as a world-famous flying ace to become a world-famous astronaut for NASA's Apollo 10 mission that arrived at the moon on May 21, 1969 when the Snoopy lunar module and the Charlie Brown command module entered lunar orbit paving the way for Apollo 11 to land men on the moon. "It went down in his life as one of the all-time highlights of his career," said Craig Schulz, son of Charles Schulz, the famed American comic strip writer who died in 2000. Schulz was reportedly thrilled when NASA contacted him prior to the 1969 mission, and approved the request despite "what-if" remarks from friends who worried about a possible mission disaster. "His comment was that if the astronauts could risk their lives, he could risk his characters," said the younger Schulz. Snoopy's association with NASA dates to the Apollo 1 fire which killed three astronauts in 1967. "NASA decided that they needed to come up with a safety program and wanted a mascot similar to Smokey the Bear," Schulz said. The beagle now has a 5-foot-tall statue at Florida's Kennedy Space Center and the Silver Snoopy Award presented to awardees who contribute to the success and safety of spaceflight operations. As for the Snoopy lunar module, it's still flying in space — the only Apollo module to ever get launched into a sun orbit."

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