October 26, 2023
— Space enthusiasts, get out your favorite powdered orange drink because a new set of glasses is bringing space history back to your kitchen cabinet (or basement bar).
Chop Shop, a Pennsylvania-based design studio with a focus on space, science and pop culture, has launched its latest crowdfunding campaign for a trio of new tumblers celebrating the "Milestones in Space." The project, which is now live on Kickstarter, began on Monday (Oct. 23) and runs through Nov. 20.
Drawing inspiration from the space-themed drinkware that was popular 60 years ago, Chop Shop's founder and creative director Thomas Romer has created a modern-day equivalent while retaining the graphic design that made the Mercury and Gemini era glasses collectible.
"After gracing my display shelf for years, I yearned for more," wrote Romer of his original Libbey glasses in his introduction to the campaign.."This original set created around 1962, commemorated four pivotal milestones in the U.S. space program. It included Explorer 1, Enos the first space chimp, Alan Shepard's 'First U.S. Manned Flight' and Faith 7, the longest manned space flight (at that time)."
"I couldn't help but imagine how incredible it would be if these glasses were expanded to encompass the rich history of space exploration beyond their initial release around 1962, a full seven years before the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing. So, let's kick things off with that!" he wrote.
Each glass in the Chop Shop set focuses on a different aspect of space exploration, from the past and present push to the moon to the journey out to Mars and the probes sent to the outer edge of our solar system and beyond.
The Lunar History glass, highlighted in blue, showcases NASA's Mercury and Gemini missions; the first humans to orbit and land on the moon on Apollo 8 and Apollo 11, respectively; and the Artemis program, the U.S. space agency's current effort to return astronauts to the lunar surface, including the first woman and first person of color.
The red-hued Mars History glass commemorates the Mariner probes' first up-close views of the red planet; the Viking landers and the rovers that followed them onto the Martian surface decades later; and the future of humans living on Mars. Lastly, the Outer Planets History glass, decorated in yellow and orange, features the Pioneer and Voyager interplanetary (and now interstellar) missions; Huygens soft landing on a Saturnian moon; and New Horizons' fly-by of Pluto and its on-going exploration of the Kuiper Belt.
Each glass also depicts the launch pads and rockets that gave each milestone its start and brief descriptions providing the rationale for why each featured event is a historic turning point in space exploration.
Individual glasses are available for a pledge of $15. The set of three Milestones in Space glasses is $45 and a set of four all of one design is $60. A special "Early Bird" rate, valid through Thursday (Oct. 26) at noon EDT (1600 GMT), discounts the two sets to $38 and $48.
Enthusiasts can also support the campaign by pledging for two sets of the three Milestones glasses, for a total of six glasses, two of each design, for $80 or, if they are a fan of the Voyager probes in particular, can pledge $50 for "The Voyager Collection," which incudes one tumbler featuring Voyager and other outer planet missions, a Voyager themed sticker, velcro-backed patch, shirt and enameled pin.
Chop Shop expects to ship the Milestones in Space glasses in December, when the retail price will rise to $17 per tumbler.
Each of Chop Shop's three new glass tumblers celebrate a different set of "Milestones in Space" at the moon, Mars and outer planets. The drinkware is being crowd funded on Kickstarter. (Chop Shop) By pledging ot the Kickstarter campaign, you can receive individual or sets of multiple "Milestones in Space" tumblers. (Chop Shop)