Snoopy has been back on Earth since December 11th, 2022 after working as a Zero-Gravity-Indicator in Artemis 1, 1.4 million miles traveling around Moon, and going through an atmosphere that is 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Last week, January 29th, 2023, Melissa Menta, Peanuts Worldwide, kindly invited us to see him in person!
I knew he has no damage from traveling in space, but I was amazed that he was in exactly the same condition as I handed to Melissa before the Artemis launch. He is still sparkly clean!
It was really nice to see not only Snoopy but also the whole team again except Ted Southern, who moved to Texas, who provided us with great knowledge about space suit materials, and was an important role in to bridge between NASA and us. This project gave me a wonderful experience to create a historical art piece. It opened my eyes to a new interest in space science. I am a very lucky person to know the people on this team and I am very proud of it.
I made Snoopy’s astronaut costume for the Artemis 1 mission in the summer of 2021. The Artemis finally launched to the Moon on November 16th, 2022 at Kennedy Space Center in FL. The total distance that he traveled from Earth to around Moon was more than 1.4 million miles. It was a very, very…very long journey for him.
I feel like I am Snoopy’s proud momma, doting over my independent grown-up son, and struggling with an empty nest! Just seeing him in pictures makes me happy. It is amazing to see that his body and his astronaut outfit haven’t been damaged at all after such a (literally) stellar adventure. I am very proud of the effort and work quality the team and I put into this project.
Congratulations on your successful mission, Snoopy!
After 25 1/2 days, Snoopy has joined us back on Earth! His mission ended on the beautiful morning of December 11th, 2022. Exactly as scheduled, the Artemis 1 mission succeeded as Orion splashed into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja.
My family and I crowded around the screen anxiously awaiting Orion’s splashdown live on NASA TV. As Ground Control narrated Orion’s re-entrance into the atmosphere, we counted down the minutes until Snoopy was safe and sound. Orion plunged to Earth covered with flame. The temperature was about 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the same as the Sun’s surface! Orion’s body was designed by NASA’s scientists and used cutting-edge technology, so the interior of the spacecraft would be unscathed. However, even though I made Snoopy and his astronaut suit with NASA-approved nonflammable materials, the naive thought in my brain said, “Snoopy won’t survive the heat!” When I saw the image of the Orion burning through the atmosphere like a fireball, I was very worried about how Snoopy would fare after the splashdown.
Email and Picture from NASA!
On the evening of December 15, 2022, NASA emailed a picture of Snoopy nestled safely back into his protective case. Their message read: “Snoopy is back home and eating comfortably in his case. He is tired but enjoyed his flight. And hopefully, he gets to keep his frequent flier miles !”
I was so excited to see him again without any injury or damage at all. He is the same happy beagle as usual. I am not sure of Snoopy’s next destination- perhaps he will move to his final home at the Snoopy Museum in Sanat Rosa, CA. I will update the information about where he will be so that you can visit him.
It is amazing to experience the whole process of the rocket going to the Moon and what science and technology can do. I am pretty sure that the next Artemis mission with astronauts can go to Moon and return to Earth safely. I am so proud that my art and craft skills were a part of the Artemis mission.
It hasn’t been long since I couldn’t even climb up the staircase at subway stations at the early stage of my Rheumatoid Arthritis, so I was excited when I was able to finally climb a basic level V0. Since then, bouldering became my main exercise to live with RA. After I felt like I mastered the beginner level, I was ready to move on to V1-requiring trickier foot moves, hand-holds, and angles. The first time I tried V1, I felt like there is a big gap between V0 and V1. It was so challenging for me to complete it. The angle of the wall and height were so scary. My insecurity prevented going forward. The only thing to overcome the fear of heights is just to keep climbing and practicing. I tried for days and finally, I completed it! When I got close to the top, I just didn’t want to fall. My mind was in a survival mood, so my brain was telling my muscles “Catch it and hold it!” The excitement of reaching the top was priceless. Now I gained more confidence than ever before!
So many people love bouldering and I am one of them. For me, bouldering is like solving a puzzle by using physics and body movement. Since I started bouldering, I’ve gotten more confident about my body despite Rheumatoid Arthritis. I feel like I’m a superwoman even though I have a chronic disease. I just want to share my life with RA and my bouldering journey. I hope I can inspire other people who have similar conditions as mine.
In addition to RA, in the summer of 2021, I got a big bone spur in my right heel and it had been acting out so badly. The pain was like I was walking on a mountain of needles. Then I started getting physical therapy. My body was so weak and out of shape before I started physical therapy, but after eight months, I could start walking again – I didn’t have to stand around struggling and waiting for my body to be able to get moving like a stalled train on the NYC subway!
I started bouldering in June of 2022, so I am a newbie. I will share one of my early-stage videos in the next blog post. I am embarrassed to share the videos of me bouldering, but in the future, I hope to look back…and see the progress!
I was invited to observe the Artemis 1 launch because I made the astronaut Snoopy a Zero-Gravity Indicator riding in Artemis 1. It was a super exciting experience because the invitation was from NASA!
The launch was at Kennedy Space Center in Cocoa, Florida. We arrived at Kennedy Space Center around 10 pm on November 15th. The launch happened at 1:47 am on November 16th!
The amazing thing was the moon was covered by a veil of clouds until a few minutes before the launch, but suddenly, the view of the moon got so clear when the launch happened. it was crazy to see the bright light and feel the shake of ground from the explosion. Also, it was thrilling to think the Snoopy that I made is in the rocket, heading to the moon! He will return to earth on Sunday, December 11, 2022. I can’t wait to see him again.
Snoopy has become a high point of my career, I feel I have developed a relationship with Snoopy! This project was all about relationships. Peanuts Worldwide LLC and my former employer, Martin Izquierdo Studio have had a long-term partnership. Martin has been one of the leaders of New York City’s theatrical artists for decades. I started working for him right after graduating from grad school with an MFA in Costume Design. The first big project I had was making angels’ wings for Victoria’s Secret fashion show. Since then, I worked for Martin for more than 18 years. About six years ago, I started creating Snoopy’s costumes for the “ Snoopy and Bell in Fashion” Exhibitions. I was an integral part of that project. I created Snoopy and Bell’s costumes for designers like Oscar De La Renta, Monse, Rachel Zoe, Paul Tazwell’s Hamilton musical, and more.
Me and NASA
Peanuts Worldwide also has a long-term relationship with NASA. Since Artemis will be going to the moon, NASA asked Peanuts to make a special Snoopy doll wearing an astronaut’s costume. Then, Peanuts called Martin, and Martin called me. However, Martin closed his studio after the pandemic, so I had to create Snoopy without a big space and all the amazing resources at Martin’s studio. Martin and I started working on the project in April 2021. I was a little nervous working on a big project all by myself in a studio space in a small apartment where my teenage son and elementary school daughter ran around. Snoopy was small enough to fit on my studio table, though, so I figured all will be fine.
Martin and I sometimes visited Ted Southern’s studio for meetings about Snoopy, and to be filmed by Apple TV for their short documentaries. Ted is another past employee of Martin’s studio, having been one of the main artists behind Victoria’s Secret fashion shows’ wings and numerous other projects. Coincidentally, he had moved on to founding his own aerospace company called Final Frontier – designing spacesuits! He was the perfect teammate. He was the liaison between me and NASA, consulting on the materials I needed for constructing the suit. There were so many restrictions on materials, so Ted’s expertise was invaluable. NASA wanted to use exactly the same space-safe fabric as real astronaut suits for the miniature Snoopy suit. Using standard clothing materials would present problems in space due to moisture, oxygenation, and other environmental issues. That was the most challenging restriction for me.
Alternating Snoopy’s Body for a Perfect Astronaut’s Suit
Logistically, I had to alter the actual plushie. The prefabricated Snoopy plushies made of NASA-approved materials have a very short neck, arms, and legs. Martin got a great idea to add 1/2″ length to the arms and legs and 1/4″ for the neck from the original plushies, to better accommodate the miniature suit. Since I had to make two Snoopy dolls (one for Earth and one for the Moon), Peanuts provided +8 Snoopy dolls to experiment. I was cutting apart pieces of Snoopy’s body and putting them together to create the ideal figure – much like Dr. Frankenstein. I even sewed gussets, a tiny piece of fabric on his underarm to help him with movement when he floats in zero gravity.
Snoopy Come Home!
One of the Snoopy figures is intended for permanent display, along with my costume patterns and samples, at the Santa Rosa Snoopy Museum. For that Snoopy, we built a helmet. Ken Berman, who is a master puppeteer (and conveniently my husband – as I said, this project was all about relationships!) made a helmet for the Earth Snoopy. Snoopy’s suit’s collar is connected to the attachment of the helmet, and the helmet had to be removable. We carefully worked together and matched the measurement of the 3-D printed collar attachment and his suit’s collar measurement.
I’ve always had a wonderful creative dynamic with Martin, so the creative process was very smooth. It was an intense process of making mock-ups for some parts since the tiny details using heavy fabrics posed a physical challenge. I completed both Earth Snoopy with a helmet and Moon Snoopy in the middle of August 2021. I was very lucky to be a part of this wonderful team of collaborators.
Snoopy is the hardest-working dog in the world! He was sitting in front of the American Museum of Natural History last night getting ready for the Macy’s parade. He is also working in space as a Zero Gravity Indicator on the Orion AND as an astronaut on Earth…all at the same time!
I got laid off last week because of their budget cut.
I have worked at a big organization where I enjoyed developing my career and skills with wonderful people. It was depressing to me because of the feeling of being excluded and invalid. The day they told me to lay me off was a week before I had one of the big events in my life, which is going to see the Artemis launch since I made the astronaut Snoopy. Now it is about two weeks passed, I feel already better. I have started thinking to organize my brain and want to write about what I have done in my career and living with my health condition, Rheumatoid Arthritis.
In 2019 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. My whole entire joints were in intense pain. I couldn’t move them. I couldn’t walk, get up myself, hold a pen, brush, needle, or scissors, you name it. All my career, living as an artist, my hands are important parts of tools. I felt like my career was over. Little by little, my condition has progressed since then because of my medication (thanks to the science), my wonderful doctors, and my exercise/obsession – Bouldering. There is no cure for RA, but I have found a way to improve mobility and live with RA.
Since I got some free time, I would like to share the journey of my past artwork and bouldering life with RA. My lovely husband named my blog title “Rockin’ the Rheum!” I have a lot to learn about bouldering, I hope I can share my experience and inspire people like me.
My kids love playing online games like Roblox and AmongUs with their buddies. Since the pandemic started, online gaming has been the biggest key to socializing with their friends. They’d stay on screen 24 hours if they could, but they need to eat, do their schoolwork, and exercise. When I call them, they often complain “Mom, bad time to be AFK!” I asked what does AFK stand for? They told me ” Away from the keyboard…DUH!” They are teaching me the vocabulary of the new generation, and now I feel kind of…hip! After all, I have to be a hip mom whom they can talk to. So I made a t-shirt, to prove I can speak their language.