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To ISS and beyond! Disney picks Buzz Lightyear patch to fly to space

January 19, 2010

— Buzz Lightyear, the animated space ranger who, in action figure form, flew to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2008, now has an official mission patch courtesy of an 11-year-old artist.

Adam Carr of Tampa, Florida was announced Tuesday as the winner of the Walt Disney Company's "Mission Patch Design Challenge" that invited elementary school students to design an emblem for the 12-inch Buzz Lightyear's 468- day stay aboard the orbiting outpost.

"Adam says he dreams of one day becoming an astronaut and hopes his design will inspire others to reach for the stars," wrote Thomas Smith, Disney Parks' social media director on the company's blog. "Congratulations, Adam."

Carr's blue and yellow design features a hand-drawn and colored depiction of the cartoon character soaring forward from the space station as the trail from the STS-124 and STS-128 orbiters that took him to and from space create the patch's border.

The contest extended an educational partnership between Disney and NASA that began with Buzz Lightyear's flight aboard the ISS. While there, NASA astronauts filmed the figure taking part in basic science demonstrations for later use in classrooms on the ground.

NASA, which is currently holding a similar contest among its employees to design an insignia for the upcoming end of its space shuttle program, will fly Carr's Buzz Lightyear patch on one of the final five missions for the orbiter fleet.

"After the mission, he will get the patch with a certificate from NASA and Disney Parks," wrote Smith.

According to the contest rules, Carr and up to three of his family members will also receive a four-day, three-night vacation at Walt Disney World, in addition to a tour of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The contest, which ran from Oct. 2 through Nov. 6, 2009, saw "many unique and creative submissions" according to an update posted on NASA's website. An exact number of entries was not immediately available.

Buzz Lightyear is not the first 'animated astronaut' to be depicted on a NASA-launched patch. Other cartoons that have graced space project patches include Looney Tunes' Daffy Duck and Marvin the Martian, Snoopy, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Homer Simpson.

A second NASA student contest, announced on the same day as the Lightyear mission patch challenge continues to accept submissions. The "Kids In Micro-g!" program asks children in grades 5 through 8 to develop an experiment or demonstration for astronauts aboard the space station to perform. The deadline for that challenge is Feb. 19, 2010.

View the top 10 Buzz Lightyear patches as chosen by the NASA and Disney design challenge judges.


Eleven-year old Adam Carr's winning design for Disney's Buzz Lightyear official mission patch. (Disney Parks)

Buzz Lightyear floating aboard the space station. (NASA)

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