And so it was for one brave frog at the launch of a NASA rocket on Wallops Island.
Obviously tired of playing second fiddle to the just-there-for-the-ride human cargo, one frog decided to hitch a ride into space. Equally obviously, he or she hasn’t really grasped the idea that it’s best to be on the inside of the rocket you’re hitching a ride on. Still, it was a brave effort to get the frogs of the space program the recognition they deserve.
Now I know you’re saying “frogs of the space program?” with some incredulity, but, yes. Frogs have been an important part of man’s venture into outer space, and it’s time to put the record straight on their characteristically green contribution to US space endeavors.
It was back in the 60s when a presidential advisors convinced Kennedy that his famous speech would go down better with the voters if he said ” landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth,” rather than Kennedy’s first choice of a frog. Kennedy did take his frog to the speech as this rare archival image shows, but the corresponding video was edited the CIA.
And it wasn’t just Kennedy that recognized the value of amphibians in space. Arthur C Clarke and Stanley Kubrick were quick to realize that without a frog, their classic 2001 A Space Odyssey wasn’t going to have any credibility at all.
And construction of the more delicate parts of the International Space Station have only been possible with the aid of frog-kinds ability to hop to it.
So there you have it. the brave frogs of the US Space program.
No doubt frogs will feature again NASA’s future, but sadly not the Wallops Island Hopper.
He’s believed to have croaked.