April 15, 2009
Stephen Colbert - Photo: Canada.com
Comedian Stephen Colbert didn't get his wish to have an International Space Station node named after him, but NASA gave him a consolation prize for his success in getting fans to vote in the space agency's naming contest. NASA said that more people voted for "Colbert" than any other name, but the space agency had reserved the right to select a name other than the one that was most popular. The node will be called "Tranquility," which ranked eighth among suggestions resulting from more than 1 million online responses. A treadmill will be named "COLBERT." "We don't typically name U.S. space station hardware after living people and this is no exception," Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for space operations, said in a statement. "However, NASA is naming its new space station treadmill the 'Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill,' or COLBERT. We have invited Stephen to Florida for the launch of COLBERT and to Houston to try out a version of the treadmill that astronauts train on." Astronaut Suni Williams announced the new names on The Colbert Report after running 26.2 miles on a treadmill to coincide with the Boston Marathon, which she qualified for but missed because of her stay aboard the ISS. The treadmill will be installed in Tranquility, a pressurized module that will add room to the space station and store its life-support systems. "Apollo 11 landed on the moon at the Sea of Tranquility 40 years ago this July," Gerstenmaier said. "We selected 'Tranquility' because it ties it to exploration and the moon, and symbolizes the spirit of international cooperation embodied by the space station."
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