collectSPACE Interview: Sesame Street's Elmo at NASA
July 17, 2011 — Elmo, the furry red monster from Sesame Street, toured NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to learn about space exploration and to see the space shuttle Atlantis liftoff on the final launch of the space shuttle program.
While at NASA, Elmo was filmed exploring the Launch Control Center (LCC) and the 52-story Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) where the shuttle was put together for launch. Elmo also climbed aboard space shuttle Discovery and met astronauts who told him what it was like to fly in space.
On launch day, just before Atlantis departed for the International Space Station, collectSPACE editor Robert Pearlman met Elmo and spoke with him about seeing the shuttle launch and his time at NASA. Pearlman, on behalf of collectSPACE, also gifted Elmo with two shuttle patches to take back to Sesame Street.
Video credit: collectSPACE.com || Photographs credit: Sesame Workshop / NASA
collectSPACE (cS): Hi Elmo!
Elmo: Hi, what's your name?
cS: I'm Robert...
Elmo: Oh, hello Mr. Robert.
cS: It's very nice to meet you.
Elmo: Oh! It's really cool to be here!
cS: I understand you've been touring NASA. Can you tell me a little bit about what you've seen?
Elmo: Oh, Elmo has been seeing everything! The shuttle, it's so cool. Elmo got to go up in one of them. It is really small. It is more the size of Elmo.
cS: Do you want to fly in space?
Elmo: Yeah, Elmo would love to one day... how 'bout you?
cS: Oh, I would love to...
Elmo: That would be cool.
cS: That's one of my long time dreams.
cS: You've been here, you're going to see a space shuttle launch, are you excited about that?
Elmo: Oh Elmo is so excited! Elmo is really excited.
cS: I understand that one of your friends on Sesame Street, Slimey?
Elmo: Slimey, yeah...
cS: ...went to the moon.
cS: Was that a real big exciting adventure?
Elmo: Oh, it was all very exciting for all of us, to see him do that. That was really cool. And then Mr. Tony Bennett came and sang a song to Slimey, too. Did you know that?
cS: No, I didn't.
Elmo: He sang, ♪Slimey to the moon...♪ That's what he was singing.
Elmo: It was funny.
cS: What are you most looking forward to while watching the launch?
Elmo: Well just seeing it for the first time in up-close. Normally Elmo sees it on TV but this time Elmo is here, baby!
cS: Kids like you are going to watch this launch, and then so what do you hope that kids like you take away from watching it. What do you think...
Elmo: Well the whole experience! It is so cool. And Elmo likes learning things whenever he can and this is a great way to learn stuff.
cS: Very cool. So you're wearing an astronaut suit.
Elmo: Yeah, they gave it to Elmo. Isn't that nice?
cS: It's great! Did you get to meet astronauts while you were here?
Elmo: Yeah, yeah, yeah... Elmo got to meet two of them. Yeah.
cS: And what do you think about...
Elmo: Mr. Wheelock.
cS: Wheelock, okay.
Elmo: And Mr... what is it? Mass? Massy?
cS and Elmo (in unison): Massimino!
Elmo: Yes, Massimino!
Elmo: And Elmo got to meet his daughter, too.
Elmo: She was here.
cS: What did they tell you about space?
Elmo: Well, that it's a lot of fun. They were talking about when you first go up and how it's very different in different spaceships as far as how you feel when you go up for the first time.
cS: If you could go to space, where would you like to go? Do you want to go to the moon like Slimey? Or go somewhere else?
Elmo: The Milky Way!
cS: The Milky Way?
Elmo: Yeah, Elmo wants to see if there's chocolate there. And chocolate is a sometime-food, so Elmo can't eat that much of it.
cS: Oh, okay. You'd have to bring back some of the milk from the Milky Way for Cookie Monster to go with his cookies.
Elmo: Oh, he would love that!
cS: When you go back to Sesame Street, what are you going to tell your friends about NASA?
Elmo: That everybody was wonderful. Elmo had such a wonderful time. And there's so much to see here!
cS: What was your favorite thing that you saw here?
Elmo: Hmm... let's see, favorite thing... hmm. There's so much, Elmo can't even think. Everything was so wonderful. They were all favorites!
cS: On our site, on collectSPACE, we collect space memorabilia.
Elmo: Oh really?
cS: And we want to give you... we have these for you. They are patches. This is the patch from the current mission and this is the patch from the space shuttle commemorative to end the space shuttle program.
Elmo: Wow! Oh thank you!
cS: So, we want to start your space collection. Do you think you want to be a space collector?
Elmo: Oh yeah! Well thank you very much. Can Elmo have a hug?
Elmo: Thank you for that!
cS: It was great meeting you. Nice meeting you, too! And enjoy the launch!
Elmo: Oh thank you and thank you for the patches, too!
cS: My pleasure.
Elmo: Let's go see the launch now! Come on! Let's go this way...