A popular manufacturer of ice chests has figured out a way to make NASA "cooler."
Igloo Products has launched two new models of its Playmate cooler emblazoned with NASA logos, space shuttle imagery and astronaut mission patches.
"From landing on the moon to landing in your pantry, the coolers in our NASA-inspired Playmate Collection make the perfect partner for any mission!" Igloo wrote on its website. "Each of these Playmates features custom NASA artwork on the cooler's tent top."
"So, head out of the world (or just to lunch) with these special-edition coolers," the Texas-based company said.
First introduced in 1971 as the "original personal cooler," Igloo's Playmate coolers feature a swivel lid and solid plastic construction. The iconic ice chest came in red and white, but today it is offered in a variety of colors and "COOLab" designs, including models decorated with MTV and Disney graphics.
The two new NASA Playmate Pal 7-quart (6.6-liter) coolers are sized to carry nine beverage cans or "average-sized" lunches.
The NASA Worm Logo Playmate has a red chest and blue lid, the latter adorned with the space agency's retro logotype, affectionately known as the "worm," and graphics "honoring when NASA made history in 1981 by achieving the first space shuttle mission with the Columbia spacecraft."
The NASA Patches Playmate Pal features a blue chest and gray lid covered in mission patch artwork and the space agency's official "meatball" logo. Among the insignia reproduced on the cooler are the crew emblems for STS-7, the 1983 maiden flight of the space shuttle Challenger that included the first launch of a U.S. woman, Sally Ride; STS-27, the 1988 flight of the orbiter Atlantis; and STS-116, the 2006 flight of Discovery with a truss segment for the International Space Station. The design also includes the American flag.
Both NASA Playmate models retail for $39.99 each and are available now through the Igloo website.
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Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of collectSPACE.com, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for Space.com and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.