back to article Light sabre on cargo manifest for next Shuttle mission

Star Wars is 30 years old, and Hollywood props cupboards are full of useless (but very cool) old tat. What better way to highlight both these facts than to announce that the original "light sabre" from the Star Wars movies, as wielded by Mark Hamill, is to be sent to space on board the next space shuttle mission. So, when …


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  1. John A Blackley

    Let me get this straight

    So my tax dollars (with which NASA is funded) are to be used to fund a guy in a bad gorrila suit handing over a piece of wooden doweling with stripes on to an astronaut? Said piece of doweling is then going to be transported into space - for no better reason than to bring it back and hand it over to a bunch of people in plastic armor and a person in a robot costume?

    Hmm. On second thought, it makes more sense than using my tax dollars to exterminate Iraquis.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Utterly Iraqutional

    I didn't think that the US was still exterminating the Iroquois?

    Is this kind of drivel really what space programmes have come down to?

    Time to start boxing up the bits and closing the doors.

  3. Chris

    Thats no ordinary prop.

    This is a covert exercise to test a fully functioning LightSaber in Zero-G conditions, under the cover of 'plain sight' camoflage. What other rational reason could there be!

  4. Brett Brennan

    Scotty, have you seen the lightsaber; it's around here somewhere...

    At least there is a lower probability of losing it the way James Doohan's ashes were.

    And I'll be we get some nice YouTube posts of the shuttle crew battling each other in the cargo space. Reworks of the Millennium Falcon training scenes perhaps?

  5. Gilbert Wham

    Re Above

    A state-funded JarJar Binks would have been more sensible than the Iraq caper, surely?

  6. Raheim Sherbedgia

    @Let me get this straight

    Yes your tax dollars are going to be used to fly the prop across the U.S. then into space. Neat huh. Those NASA guys really are on the cutting edge of science.

    FYI the prop is made of a metal tube with some rubber bits, not wood for Luke or NASA :)

  7. JK

    Re: Let me get this straight

    But wait, we're doing both...

  8. Joe Cooper


    I think the implication here was that George Lucas had to pay for it.

    Furthermore, the guy in a bad gorilla suit part wouldn't be NASA funded or managed.

    Buuuuuut I guess if you really need a reason to bitch, a dildo-sized movie prop being stashed somewhere on a completely unrelated shuttle mission is enough ;)

  9. Ally

    Well, no

    John, I'm pretty sure your tax dollars are safe, as is suggested at the end of the article.

    After years of under-investment, NASA has all sorts of schemes to make some money on the side- a photo op of a light saber in space is just another way of doing so, and allowing them to be less dependent on tax dollars earmarked for quagmire creation.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @John A Blackley

    Any sentence that starts "So my tax dollars..." will stop me reading the remainder of the letter. (I bet you drive a car on tax funded roads, I rest my case.)

  11. Morely Dotes

    @ Gilbert

    We had a state-funded JarJar Binks. He resigned this week, finally.

    The "light sabre" probably masses about 6 ounces, so we're looking at about $3750 to send it into space. It would cost a lot more to send Gonzo and Bonzo up there (but that would still be cheaper than what it has cost the US to have them in Washington for the past half-decade).

  12. Graham Marsden

    Waves hand...

    "These aren't the astronauts you're looking for..."

  13. Josh

    Re: Thats no ordinary prop.

    It's a space station.

    Let's hope they friendly aliens don't bored and see it... They might think it's a hostile action.

    Also, innit "Lightsaber"?

  14. Jon

    @Anon re @John A B

    If you'd read his comment rather than blatently thinking you know everything, you'd have realised that he had a valid point.. Or at least though he had.. There's a HUGE difference between paying for a road taxes and paying for some prat to put a 20 year old piece of tat into orbit just because some nerds think it might be cool. I hate "know it all's"

    However, that said, if NASA actually start to make a profit, from selling space on the space shuttle to people with space in their heads and space in their wallet who want to get some space in their closets by sending things into space, I'll make some room for them! (Yeah, I was going to put space in there again but my space bar was getting worn out!)

  15. jai

    lightsabre smightsmabre!

    "hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster in your hand, kid!"

  16. Simon Ball


    More to the point, the cost-per-pound is just a ballpark figure derived by dividing the launch costs by the total mass launched. Since most of the launch costs are fixed – refurbishing the shuttle, building an external tank, moving the whole lot to the launch pad, etc – the cost of launching the shuttle is pretty much exactly the same regardless of how much cargo it’s carrying. Therefore if the shuttle is flying anyway, and there's payload to spare, the marginal cost of carrying cheap tat up is essentially zero.

  17. Damian Gabriel Moran

    i remember reading somewhere...

    that NASA were going to raise funding by offering to take advertising into space, i can think of nothing worse than an orbiting McDonalds or Coke logo shining down at me 24 hours a day. A friend once had a theory (after seeing a shot of the inside of the international space station) that it was just a giant hydroponics lab for growing the CIA's cannabis (you know the stuff that makes eggs look like brains - thanks Bill!) and that was how NASA was going to fund a journey to Mars.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: the marginal cost of carrying cheap tat up is essentially zero.

    Hmmm... I have a snow globe somewhere, and I can even claim a scientific value - anyone seen a snowglobe in zero-G?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    nasa and scifis...

    "Reworks of the Millennium Falcon training scenes perhaps?"

    Why not? They already have the training droid and now they get to borrow a light sabre. Btw that little red autonomus zero-g droid made by nasa looks really good, but I have a feeling that they won't going to orbit that with the sabre, because actually that would be useful.

    "I have a snow globe somewhere, and I can even claim a scientific value - anyone seen a snowglobe in zero-G?"

    The Bigelow 'we fly your stuff' program was just about this. Putting personal things on orbit. Afaik they had lots of stuff, you should check if they had a snowglobe too.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whatever next.....

    Next they'll be sending nappy wearing nutcases into orbit..................

  21. Ash

    Mark Hamill...

    ... now does the voice over for a Govt official in the [adult swim] cartoon Metalocalypse.

    His most awesome role yet.

    The only more cool role he could perform is being Chuck Norris in a movie, but I think Chuck might actually insist that Odin himself is cast for this part.

  22. Edward Pearson


    Just imagine what the offending sabre would reach on ebay when it gets back.

    Some NASA exec is going to get a nice bonus next year.

  23. Rachel

    "Tax Dollars"

    Do some better reading.

    NASA charges companies / people for taking props like this up. So they are making money and really, its possibly saving you tax dollars. That 10k might pay for those couple of welds that keep the heat shield intact the next run up. If they don't have to pay for more repairs or new crewman, then they won't need to request as high of a budget increase.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Re: Thats no ordinary prop.

    "Also, innit "Lightsaber"?"

    US=saber, UK=sabre

    HOWever as it's the name of something, and the it was named by an American, I'd say it should correctly be lightsaber not lightsabre.

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