At 468 days in space, Buzz Lightyear has spent the longest time ever in space on a single mission. The catch is, as Lightyear’s friend Woody would remind us in a hot minute, he is a toy!
Whether toy or space ranger, however, the loveable Lightyear is back in the popular conversation yet again for the Disney movie “Lightyear,” which is out now exclusively in theaters.
Since first appearing on our screens in 1995 shouting about “infinity and beyond” and sad, strange little men, Lightyear’s antics have attracted fans young and old. Then in 2012, a partnership between NASA and Disney Parks invited Buzz Lightyear to orbit as a space education advocate for more than a year.
Launching on space shuttle mission STS-124 on May 31, 2008, Lightyear returned to Earth on September 11, 2009 on STS-128 after keeping numerous International Space Station astronauts company in orbit, as the NASA mini-doc below reminds us.
Related: Cosmic Toy Story: Buzz Lightyear in Space (Photos)
While in space, Lightyear showed all of us that Woody was wrong and yes, he can indeed fly. This video below shows Lightyear at the window floating merrily, while watching spacewalkers on STS-124 doing their thing outside.
Keeping in tune with his kid audience, Lightyear helped NASA astronauts Greg Chamitoff and Mike Fincke below explain the concept of gravity in 2013. They include a little joke about Lightyear’s famous line about “falling with style”, explaining that on the International Space Station, everything is falling around Earth. That includes astronauts, balls and space rangers.
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If you’re wondering where Lightyear’s next stop after spaceflight happened to be, he ended up at the Smithsonian Institution. In 2012, the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. hosted Pixar Animation Studios and NASA for a ceremonial donation of the particular action figure that flew to the ISS. You can watch the ceremony and other activities below.
And in a classic “Buzz, meet Buzz” moment, Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin gave Lightyear coaching in 2010 on how to succeed in future space missions. Lightyear bravely dives into an aquarium, runs on a treadmill and literally straps himself in for a model rocket launch.
Did Lightyear pass the test? Watch below to find out, and to learn Aldrin’s parting words about who is really the commander on their next mission.