– An astronaut will take to the field as a baseball player walks on the moon – at least, the latter in bobblehead format – as part of NASA Night with the Houston Astros.
Fans attending Saturday’s (July 16) baseball game at Minute Maid Park will be treated to a celebration of the 53rd anniversary of the launch of the first Apollo 11 moon landing mission. Anne McClain, who spent more than 200 days aboard the International Space Station in 2019 will throw the ceremonial first pitch, while a toy version of Astros second baseman Jose Altuve will be available to attendees as a memento of the Astros-themed event. space.
“Back by popular demand, NASA Night will return to Minute Maid Park on July 16 as the Astros take on the Oakland Athletics,” the team said. featured on its website. “Join us as we celebrate the Apollo 11 launch anniversary with a special pre-game ceremony and fun space-themed activations around the ballpark.”
Offered in addition to the tickets for the game, a collectible figurine representing Altuve in a white spacesuit standing on the moon next to an Apollo lunar module.
“Commemorate the iconic Apollo 11 moon landing with this limited-edition Astros-themed lunar lander bobblehead,” the website reads. The souvenir costs $40.
Back on the field, the real Altuve and his Astros teammates will sport their City Connect uniforms celebrating their connection to “Space City.” New Nike apparel this season also includes a nod to the Apollo 11 mission with a gold lunar module and the words “Houston the Eagle Has Landed” embroidered above the jock tag.
In addition to McClain, NASA astronaut and Team Artemis member Jessica Meir will also be at the game to participate in a special “play ball” moment. Meir, who made headlines in the first all-female spacewalk, will present the Astros with a baseball that flew aboard the station during the 2019 World Series.
“This 17,500 mph fastball found its way to the cupola of the International Space Station,” Meir wrote on Twitter, captioning a photo she took of the baseball in orbit.
Before entering the park, attendees can check out NASA’s Driven to Explore mobile exhibit and pose for a spacesuit photo op. Space Center Houston, the welcome center for Johnson Space Center, will also be on hand, inviting fans to decorate postcards that will be carried during a Blue Origin New Shepard launch and then returned to them with a stamp certifying that it flew into space.
Once inside Minute Maid Park, fans can watch a pre-recorded message from the Expedition 67 crew aboard the space station, view NASA announcements during round changes, learn the facts of NASA when highlighted on the big screen and listening to space-themed music. Vanessa Wyche, director of the Johnson Space Center, can also be seen in the stadium during her meeting with the Astros organization.
NASA night has been an Astros tradition for decades. Named for Houston being home to the space agency‘s Manned Spacecraft Center (now Johnson Space Center), the team has hosted astronauts dating back to Mercury 7, which launched a ceremony in 1965. Future NASA nights are currently being planned.