NASA Podcasts

STS-132: What's Going Up
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NARRATOR: The crew members of STS-132 are celebrating their diverse links to organizations around the country and throughout the world with a wide assortment of commemorative items that will fly aboard space shuttle Atlantis.

Rubber wristbands for Eli's Army Cancer Survivors and Team G Force Cancer Survivors along with a lapel pin from the Komen "Race for the Cure" campaign are some of the organizations represented on Atlantis.

A tan stuffed bear representing the Cleft Palate Foundation of Chapel Hill, N. C., is being carried inside the shuttle as well, plus a gold lapel pin from the Alzheimer's Association in Chicago.

Lapel pins and similar-sized commemoratives often are carried because they are small and lightweight, but their symbolism can be immense. The crew tucked a pin from the "Imagine There's No Hunger" campaign, for example, into the flight kit.

There also is room for bulkier items including banners, shirts and jerseys. For instance, astronauts are taking flags with them from the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International. Plus a red t-shirt from the charity organization Save the Children.

There also are plenty of quirky items heading into orbit, such as a set of Buzz Lightyear patches. A Buzz Lightyear action figure went to the International Space Station on STS-124.

A piece of a Lego space shuttle also will make the trip and a stethoscope from Bluewater Medicine in Niceville, Fla.

Music and sports are represented as well in the form of a DVD of the 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony and a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey. Astronaut Michael Good, a spacewalker on STS-132, is from Ohio.

Atlantis, which is making its last planned flight, also has been packed with hundreds of small patches and flags from the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs.

Whether one of a kind or part of an assortment of hundreds, items are used to inspire and reward achievements of many different kinds.

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