Tron, the Pirates and Transformers in the ISS
|Expeditions 29, 30 et 31 posters
Credit: NASA/Enjoy Space
It’s well-known that the space mission crews pose for official photographs in their space suits or the famous blue jumpsuit. But NASA’s Space Flight Awareness programme also creates more informal posters with the astronauts; these can be downright funny or refer to popular culture and particularly films.
On 14 November, a Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft will take off from Baikonur with the American Daniel (Dan) Burbank and the Russians Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoli Ivanishin on board. On reaching the International Space Station, they will meet their 3 colleagues already up there, the Japanese Satoshi Furukawa, the Russian Sergey Volkov and the American Mike Fossum. Expedition 29 will then be complete, just like on this poster which emulates Tron Legacy, a Disney film based in a virtual world. Note that the commander Mike Fossum is holding his Expedition emblem like the film’s lead characters (this disk is both their identity and a sort of fighting Frisbee).
The schedule of flights to the Station has been disrupted due to a problem which occurred in August on a Soyuz rocket. So, the Tron Legacy Expedition 29 will not last long because Furukawa, Volkov and Fossum have to return to Earth on 22 November. Expedition 30 will then officially begin with Burbank, Shkaplerov and Ivanishin who will stay. But they will have to wait until 26 December for this Expedition to be complete with the arrival by Soyuz TMA-03M of the American Donald Pettit, the Russian Oleg Kononenko and the Dutch astronaut from the European Space Agency, André Kuipers. We will then have 6 pirates in the ISS! Yes, look closely, the poster for this Expedition is an obvious reference to another Disney production, the Pirates of the Caribbean saga. And the least that can be said is that the commander Dan Burbank (centre) is a very convincing Jack Sparrow! However, the astronauts have been entitled “Pilots over the Caribbean”. Note the presence of Robonaut 2’s head in the middle of the title, the Soyuz rocket on Jack Sparrow’s (sorry, Dan Burbank’s!) bandana, while Kuipers displays a tattoo of the official Expedition emblem on his arm. An emblem that also appears on Kononenko’s hat.
By March 2012, a new changeover of half of the Station’s crew will take place. Burbank, Shkaplerov and Ivanishin will return to Earth, while Pettit, Kononenko and Kuipers will remain and be joined by the American Joe Acaba and the Russians Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin. Tribute is paid to another film saga, that of the Transformers, the robots from space who fight each other on our planet. Naturally, Robonaut 2 occupies pride of place in this reference to the DreamWorks (Spielberg’s company) and Paramount production. But beware, there is a slight difference, the title is not Transformers, but Transporters an allusion to the fact that several automatic cargo ships will visit the Station during this Expedition, particularly the European ATV and perhaps the first private cargo capsule from SpaceX.
Discover other crew posters in this Enjoy Space feature.
Published 26 October 2011