An Arnold Classic medallion identical to those given to the winner of the professional bodybuilding contest was on board the Space shuttle Atlantis when it rocketed into orbit today from Cape Canaveral in Florida en route to the International Space Station.
Shuttle commander Charles Hobaugh, a graduate of North Ridgeville High School near Cleveland, requested souvenirs from the Arnold Sports Festival prior to the launch. He is also carrying a Governor's Medallion from California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
A publicist at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston contacted the Arnold Sports Festival in August on behalf of Hobaugh requesting items to be taken into space.
"Charlie Hobaugh actually attended one of your events years ago -- and was truly inspired and motivated by the information he learned," NASA spokeswoman Dana Davis said. "After leaving the (Festival), he felt extremely empowered. In fact, he said it was one of his 'defining moments."
"He's been a fitness buff his entire life and is also a huge Arnold Schwarzenegger fan. Plus, he's an avid student of Mr Schwarzenegger's health and fitness books."
Hobaugh, who has been invited to be a special guest at the 2010 Arnold Sports Festival, is among six astronauts on board Space shuttle Atlantis for the 11-day flight. The Atlantis will reach the space station on Wednesday with a load of spare parts that will be used to keep the space station up and runnnig for several years.
"We're excited to take this incredible vehicle for a ride and meet up with another incredible vehicle," Hobaugh said after the launch, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The space shuttle launch was witnesses by 100 users of the social media network Twitter, all of who were the first to sign up for the NASA's first-ever "Tweetup." The 100 Twitter uses have an estimated combined 150,000 followers and sent a constant stream of messages before, during and after the launch.
Last modified: 2009-11-16 @ 12:00 am