CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Comedian Stephen Colbert is go for the space shuttle Discovery?s Tuesday launch, even if he can?t watch the spacecraft send a treadmill named after him into orbit with his own two eyes.
NASA invited Colbert, host of Comedy Central?s ?The Colbert Report,? to watch Discovery?s launch at 1:36 a.m. EDT (0536 GMT), but the comedian was unable to attend. Instead, he sent NASA a recorded video message urging astronauts to take advantage of the new COLBERT treadmill that is carrying his name to the International Space Station.
NASA named the treadmill COLBERT, short for the lengthy moniker Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill, earlier this year after the comedian won an online poll to name a new space station room after him. NASA opted to name the new module Tranquility, after the Apollo 11 moon base, instead. But as a consolation, Colbert got his name - and face - on a new treadmill for the space station?s gym.
While Colbert lamented losing the space station room, he took some solace knowing that his treadmill will help keep flabby astronauts healthy.
?Let?s face it, being weightless is mostly just a desperate bid to get away from the bathroom scale every morning,? he said.
In his video message, Colbert told NASA?s spaceflyers to lay off the astronaut ice cream and to stretch before using the COLBERT treadmill ?because in space no one can hear you pull a hammy.?
He closed with one final message to NASA: "Now this is Stephen Colbert saying, I am go to launch me. Let?s light this candle!?
Discovery is poised to launch on a 13-day mission to the International Space Station, where its seven-astronaut crew will deliver the COLBERT treadmill along with more than 7 tons of other cargo. Three spacewalks and a one-astronaut crew change for the station?s six-person crew are also planned.
Discovery has an 80 percent chance of good launch weather and is now fully fueled for its predawn Tuesday launch.
Click here to watch Colbert?s video message on collectSPACE.com, a SPACE.com partner.
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SPACE.com will provide complete coverage of Discovery's STS-128 mission to the International Space Station with Managing Editor Tariq Malik in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and Staff Writer Clara Moskowitz. Click here for shuttle mission updates and a link to NASA TV.