Kids can now join Astronaut Snoopy as he blasts off on NASA adventures with McDonald's new Happy Meal.
The "Discover Space with Snoopy" Happy Meal, which launched at McDonald's restaurants across the United States on Tuesday (Aug. 20) and extends through September, features Charles Schulz's comic strip dog in his persona as the "world famous astronaut" and "the first beagle on the moon." Produced in collaboration with NASA, the promotion builds upon the space agency's recent agreement with Peanuts Worldwide to use Snoopy to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
"Discover Space with Snoopy! Head to your local McDonald's now to learn about your favorite beagle's educational mission to space with your very own Astronaut Snoopy toys and original STEM Peanuts books," announced Peanuts on Twitter.
The meal includes one of four toys or books themed around NASA's current and future missions. The giveaways depict Snoopy wearing his modern orange spacesuit, modeled after NASA's Artemis astronaut garment, complete with the agency's logo.
The four "Discover Space with Snoopy" toys include:
- "Moon Walker," a wind-up Astronaut Snoopy figure that walks backward, similar to the style of the dance move of the same name;
- "Rocket Ride," a pullback toy featuring Snoopy and Woodstock riding on NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft;
- "Space Buggy," a pullback toy styled after NASA's Mars rovers Curiosity and Mars 2020; and,
- "Take Off Launcher," a spinning top that launches Astronaut Snoopy from atop NASA's SLS rocket.
Each of the toys come packaged with a NASA Fact Card with details about space exploration and the agency's activities.
McDonald's also worked with NASA and Reading is Fundamental to write the four "Discover Space with Snoopy" books:
- "Snoopy: Constellation Quest," in which Snoopy and the Peanuts gang enjoy an evening of stargazing and learning about stars, constellations and asterisms. Included is a punch-out Snoopy and telescope that can be used to reveal constellations inside the book's back cover.
- "Snoopy: To The Moon!" in which the "world famous astronaut" launches back into space for a trip to the moon with his bird buddy Woodstock. The book includes a stand-up of the moon topped with Astronaut Snoopy.
- "Snoopy: Blasts Off!" in which Snoopy launches on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station. The book features a pop-up representation of the orbital laboratory.
- "Snoopy: The Mars Rover!" in which Snoopy helps Charlie Brown with his book report and writes a Martian chronicle. The book includes a wand that exposes other characters on the red planet.
All eight of the books and toys can be scanned with the McDonald's McPlay app to reveal a Snoopy-themed surprise and related activities.
The "Discover Space with Snoopy" Happy Meal has previously been available at McDonald's restaurants around the world, with some differences. Some of the international offers omitted the NASA partnership and included four additional toys (among them a space plane, the Hubble Space Telescope, a re-entry capsule with parachute and an Orion-themed spinner).
Snoopy's relationship with NASA dates back more than 50 years. A NASA mascot since 1968, Snoopy and Charlie Brown were the namesakes of the Apollo 10 spacecraft and NASA astronauts bestow the "Silver Snoopy" award to workers for outstanding achievements related to human flight safety or mission success.
Snoopy's current NASA STEM mission also includes a large character balloon in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and a "Snoopy In Space" animated series premiering with the Apple TV+ streaming service this fall.
"The NASA partnership with Peanuts, and additional cooperation on the Peanuts-McDonald's Happy Meal program, fits into the agency's mission to communicate about the NASA's space exploration programs and excite the next generation's interest in STEM and STEM careers," wrote NASA on its website.
Astronaut Snoopy was previously included as a toy in the March 2018 "Imaginary World of Snoopy" Happy Meal. NASA collaborated on at least one earlier kid's fast food meal. In 2004, Carl's Jr. and Hardee's Cool Kids Combo was themed around NASA missions, including the Cassini Saturn probe and the Spirit and Opportunity Mars exploration rovers
- Sci-Fi to Snoopy: NASA's Coolest Mission Posters (Photos)
- The Apollo 10 Mission: NASA's Lunar Landing Dress Rehearsal in Photos
- The Evolution of the Spacesuit in Pictures
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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.