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McDonald's moonman: Apollo astronaut statue erected at restaurant

July 19, 2022

— A new statue of an Apollo astronaut now stands near NASA in Houston, just in time for the anniversary of the first moon landing.

To find it, just follow the Golden Arches.

"Looking for an out-of-this world photo op? Come to Nassau Bay, where this incredible astronaut was installed today in front of the McDonald's located at 1320 E. NASA Parkway!" city officials wrote on the Facebook page for the Houston suburb on Monday (July 18).

The larger-than-life astronaut is sculpted wearing an Apollo-style spacesuit, complete with a NASA logo on its chest, a reflective gold helmet visor and a red carton of McDonald's french fries in its gloved left hand.

"I built a pedestal around the 13-foot [4-m] astronaut so customers and visitors can take their picture, and I know the city was thrilled to have it up again," Ken Kades, the restaurant's operator, told the Beumont Enterprise newspaper.

Although brand new, the statue replaces a similar landmark that for more than 25 years stood atop the roof of the McDonald's at its former location, which was across the street and nearer to Johnson Space Center further down NASA Road One. The astronaut helped set the restaurant apart from others in the chain.

"The business moved to the new location over a year ago, and after some deep digging, I was able to find the original artist who designed and created the original astronaut 27 years ago," Kades said.

John Knott's 1995 fiberglass creation wore a less-detailed space shuttle-era spacesuit that lacked the NASA insignia but still held out a box of fries. The local artist, whose work through Bent Fabrication Studio also includes building a full-scale mockup of Axiom Space's commercial space station, shared photos of the new astronaut under construction on his Instagram feed.

The public is welcome to come see the statue, regardless if they are eating at McDonald's.

"We encourage all of our residents and visitors to check out the astronaut," the Nassau Bay Facebook post read. "Parking for photos is available."


A new statue of an Apollo astronaut stands outside the McDonald's in Nassau Bay, a suburb of Houston, Texas. (City of Nassau Bay)

The City of Nassua Bay is encouraging residents and visitors to check out the new McDonald's astronaut statue, take photos or selfies, and if sharing on social media, tag #visitnassaubay and #nassaubaytx. (City of Nassau Bay)

Artist John Knott's original astronaut statue seen being installed in 1995 at the now former McDonald's restaurant on NASA Road 1 in Houston, Texas, near Space Center Houston and NASA's Johnson Space Center. (Bent Fabrication Studio)

The original astronaut statue at the original McDonald's location became a landmark near NASA's Johnson Space Center. (@nonstandardmcd/Twitter)

The new astronaut statue for the Nassau Bay McDonald's seen under construction by John Knott at Bent Fabrication Studio. (Bent Fabrication Studio)

The new Apollo astronaut statue at the McDonald's restaurant in Nassau Bay, Texas, was installed on Monday, July 19, 2022, just two days before the 53rd anniversary of the Apollo 11 first moon landing. (City of Nassau Bay)

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