Shaun's Journey to the Moon!

Shaun Canon

In November 2022 Shaun took the first flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft with an ESA European Service Module, which went around the Moon and back. The mission wasn't carrying a human crew, but was instead controlled from the ground with its woolly specialist as a passenger.

Orion and its European Service Module was launched by the Space Launch System from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA. The spacecraft then entered a low-Earth orbit before the rocket’s upper stage fired to take it into a translunar orbit.

The spacecraft performed a flyby of the Moon, using lunar gravity to gain speed and propel itself 70 000 km beyond the Moon, almost half a million km from Earth – farther than any human, or sheep, has ever travelled.

Mission Patch

Mission Timeline

Drag me
16 November 2022 6:47 GMT

LAUNCH DAY! Shaun’s mission to the Moon began as the Orion spacecraft launched into space from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, taking ESA's newest astronaut farther than any human (or sheep!) has ever been before!

Astronaut Training

Drag me

Astronauts typically spend a minimum of three years of training before flying to space for the first time! Read about Shaun's preparation and training in more detail on the ESA blog..

Find out more

Coming Back Home!

Drag me

After representing the European Space Agency on the first flight of NASA's Orion spacecraft with an ESA European Service Module, our woolly astronaut safely splashed down to earth on December 11th 2022 and, after a much needed rest, returned home to Aardman at the end of March 2023.

Post Flight Tour

Drag me

After returning from his Artemis I mission to a hero's welcome at Aardman's HQ in Bristol, Shaun embarked on a celebratory post-flight tour, visiting space centres across Europe to meet many of the people who made his flight possible. First stop was the European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT), ESA’s newest facility and its first in the UK, based in Oxfordshire.

Find out more