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Aardman and ESA celebrate Shaun the Sheep’s Artemis 1 Lunar Mission

Aardman and the European Space Agency are today (29 March) celebrating the return of specially trained astronaut, Shaun the Sheep, as he arrives in Bristol following the successful Artemis I mission to the Moon.

After representing the European Space Agency on the first flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft with an ESA European Service Module, the woolly astronaut safely splashed down to earth on 11 December 2022 and, after a much needed rest has now returned home to the Aardman studio before continuing his astronaut duties on a post-flight tour.

ESA’s director of human and robotic exploration, David Parker, and other representatives from the European Space Agency formally congratulated Shaun at Aardman in central Bristol, before Shaun visits various space centres across Europe as part of the tour which will see him continue his learnings about the wider programmes the European Space Agency have to offer the future of space exploration.

The moment will also be marked with the unveiling of a new piece of Aardman history, as Shaun’s astronaut portrait and a commemorative plaque will be on placed on permanant display at the studio.

“Everyone at the Aardman studio is bursting with pride as we celebrate his historic journey from Mossy Bottom Farm to the vast emptiness of space,” commented Peter Lord, co-founder and creative director at Aardman. “And we’re equally delighted and proud of our partnership with ESA, who trained him for the flight and made the whole adventure possible. No sheep has ever seen so much or travelled so far.”

ESA’s director for human and robotic exploration, Dr David Parker, added: “It is always a special pleasure to greet European astronauts when they return from space, and today I am delighted to welcome Shaun the Sheep, alive and wool after a well-deserved rest on the farm.

“As the first sheep to fly to the Moon and back, he’s got a lot to teach us about the ambition, talent and diversity needed for Europe’s exploration of space. I am sure everyone will flock to meet him during his post-flight tour.”

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