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NASA to Announce New ISS Module Name on Colbert Report

Will the new ISS module look like this?

Will the new ISS module look like this?

NASA announced via Twitter that the space agency will announce the name of the new International Space Staton module next week on the Comedy Central show, “The Colbert Report.” As you may recall, the show’s host Stephen Colbert encouraged his viewers to write-in his name in NASA’s “Name the Node” contest, and he won in a landslide over NASA’s top suggestion, Serenity (“that’s the name of an adult diaper,” said Colbert), by over 40,000 votes. NASA astronaut Suni Williams will appear on the show on Tuesday, April 14 at 11:30 pm EDT. This certainly bodes well for the Colbert Nation, but will NASA really come through on this one and do something fun and engaging, or do what the middle-aged space agency usually does. Will it be “Democracy in Orbit?”

Watch a video of Colbert below telling NASA, “the ball is in your court.”

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Space Module: Colbert – Democracy in Orbit
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor NASA Name Contest

Update — NASA just released a press release on this, and here’s more:

“The node naming poll was organic and took on a life of its own,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We received more than a million
entries, in large part because social media Web sites and television programs, such as ‘The Colbert Report,’ took an interest. This spread overall awareness of the International Space Station.”

NASA originally planned to announce the node’s name on April 28 after it arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. However, the node’s arrival at Kennedy is delayed until May, so the announcement moved to April 14.

The show’s producers offered to host the name selection announcement after comedian and host Stephen Colbert took interest during the census and urged his followers to post the name “Colbert.”

“I certainly hope NASA does the right thing,” said Colbert. “Just kidding, I hope they name it after me.”

Node 3 is a pressurized module that will provide room for many of the space station’s life support systems. Attached to the node is the cupola, a one-of-a-kind work station with six windows around the sides and one on top. Node 3 is targeted for launch in late 2009.

For more information about the station and Node 3.


Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • RickE April 11, 2009, 7:23 AM

    On Colbert’s tax return it says under
    occupation: Entertainer/comedian.

    That’s all you need to know –

    He has daily access to the public airwaves and has millions of rabid fans who hang on his every word – flooding a voting site at his request
    is ludicrous on its face and has no validity whatever –
    the people who did so did not care one wit what it
    was for – these zombies were simply following their marching orders – again. Sad.

    This has NOTHING to do with NASA’s
    ability or inability playing the PR game –

    Anyone who thinks it does has missed the point entirely (again).

    He’s a funny intelligent guy but what the hell is wrong with everybody out there?

  • RickE April 11, 2009, 7:25 AM

    this is silly

  • Jorge April 11, 2009, 7:46 AM

    Wow! Many of you guys here seriuosly need an injection of sense of humor. Jeeze. These comments are even crazier than the idea of naming the module Colbert.

    Steve Colbert made a joke, OK? A good one, as is his custom. Part of the joke was winning the name contest. That was the whole comedic point, and of course he is getting as much as he can out of the joke.

    NASA officials got the joke and played along. I’m guessing Colbert has a sizeable fan base among NASA people, being the nerd he is 😀 Good for NASA, and good for Colbert.

    The joke will end when the name gets revealed, NASA names the module Serenity, Colbert pretends to be outraged, and they (well, Colbert) find some humorous way to solve the matter. And then they’ll both move along, Colbert to make fun of the next silly polititian, NASA to do whatever they do when they are not naming stuff. End of story.


  • Rick April 11, 2009, 9:50 AM

    NASA should stick to serious work (if they can remember what that is anymore) and get out of the gimmicky nonsense they seem to encourage their managers to partake in.

  • KevinM April 11, 2009, 11:18 AM

    Jorge, you are right if Nasa treats this as the joke it is, but how do you know that they will? If they don’t, it’s a real problem. When government starts taking orders from TV comedians, we do not become more democratic, we become a manipulated mob, governed by cults of unaccountable personalities.

  • Tyler Durden April 11, 2009, 12:44 PM

    “we become a manipulated mob, governed by cults of unaccountable personalities.”

    Too late.

    Or were you in a coma from 2000 to 2008?

  • Davidlpf April 11, 2009, 2:17 PM

    I still think they should name the toilet after him so when things go wrong they can say “It has now all gone done the Colbert.”

  • Jorge April 11, 2009, 2:22 PM

    Jorge, you are right if Nasa treats this as the joke it is, but how do you know that they will?

    Call it an educated guess.

    And, in any case, to argue about it is futile. We’ll know soon enough. Just 3 more days of patience.

    (Note to NASA. Here’s a suggestion: next time you have a module to name, call it Patience) :)

  • Ryan April 11, 2009, 2:44 PM

    How many of you have actually watched the interviews on his show with NASA people in it? NASA is obviously in on this joke. I definately cannot say the same about all the posters here though; some of you need to chill out a little bit.

  • Adam April 11, 2009, 8:48 PM

    Yeah. Seriously.

  • Dave Finton April 12, 2009, 8:43 AM

    I must be the only one who thinks “Colbert” is a fine name for a module for the ISS. Let’s save “Serenity” for something a bit more profound, like a Mars rover or something. =)

    PS Yes I am a Colbert Report fan. =D

  • Derek April 12, 2009, 12:56 PM

    Some of the people who post on this site, have seriously warped views of the world.

    There is absolutely no reason not to name the module Colbert. If NASA intended to choose their own name for it, they should have limited the vote to the 4 original names, instead of allowing write ins.

  • Derek April 12, 2009, 1:00 PM

    “KevinM Says:
    April 11th, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Jorge, you are right if Nasa treats this as the joke it is, but how do you know that they will? If they don’t, it’s a real problem. When government starts taking orders from TV comedians, we do not become more democratic, we become a manipulated mob, governed by cults of unaccountable personalities.”

    Yes, because HOLDING AN OPEN VOTE, is the same as taking orders…

  • Dark Gnat April 12, 2009, 7:44 PM

    I don’t see what the big deal is. If anything, this kind of publicity is just what NASA needs.

    If it exposes more people to space exploration, then that’s great.

    There’s ne reason to get all upset over something as light hearted as this.

  • Dark Gnat April 12, 2009, 7:50 PM

    Also, if you don’t like the idea of Colbert getting the name, maybe you should have encouraged others to vote for something else, instead of complaining about “mob rule” and other silly nonsense.

  • Rick April 13, 2009, 11:59 AM

    NASA suffers from a serious lack of PR. Sure, they get government funding, but if they got anything near what the pentagon gets every 6 months (600+ billion) then we’d be flying to the moon for the heck of it.

    They obviously were looking to get the word out about some module that nobody really cares about (in the general media).

    Also the Colbert report and the Daily show both have many authors of books on science and astronomy and have interviewed Degrass-Tyson more than once. NASA needs the help. Other media outlets seem to only want to cover NASA stuff when there is an explosion and people die. (like sensationalists fox news)

  • IMSA12 April 13, 2009, 11:04 PM

    As Rick said, Steven Colbert and John Stewart present more science to the viewers of their half-hour comedy “news” shows than virtually all real “news” shows do combined, unless, of course, something sensational happens. Rick’s only error was putting the words “fox” and “news” in the same sentence.

    Steven Colbert would not be able to play this sort of game over and over again if he did not have the informed trust and confidence of his viewers, and I expect him to handle the situation on Tuesday night with his usual class and composure. Am I a sheep? Ewe bet I am!

  • Ed April 14, 2009, 7:47 PM

    Rick says NASA should stick to “serious work” and not “gimmiky nonsense.”

    I’m from a family of engineers that have been involved with making NASA’s missions successful. They weather endless idiotic political appointments and budget cuts/increases/cuts/increases.

    The people I know have ONE goal… a successful mission where everyone comes home alive. They wouldn’t care less if the new node was named “Mildred.”

    Personally, I love Colbert and believe that this exposure can only be good for NASA. Do I think that they should name the node after him? Well, I have to consider the flip side. What if it was going to be named “Limbaugh” …wait I can’t stop laughing.

  • Sloki April 19, 2009, 1:35 PM

    Colbert is just to pathetic for my taste…