September 26, 2002

RELEASE: 02-03


Refreshed and exhilarated from his first successful launch in late July, Gumby will again fly solo this coming weekend (weather permitting) in the Clay Brothers’ launch vehicle, the “Clayola Crayon.” This will mark the second venture into near-space for a Clay-American astronaut. 

When asked to comment, Gumby, 47, had this to say: “It was over too fast. The lift-off was powerful, the view was fantastic, but the landing was a bit hard. I can't wait to get up there again!” He feels confident riding the Claybro's Clayola Crayon because--unlike NASA competitors--it was not built by the lowest bidder.

Jeanne O’Lone, Chief Putty Officer, agreed regarding the lift-off and landing, saying “The G-forces were fairly rigorous, but he was back in shape in no time – Gumby takes excellent care of himself. They broke the mold when they made that guy.”

“Gumby’s first flight did indeed go well,” commented Jamie Clay, Chief Science Officer. “Gumby navigated the ship back down to the ground without damaging it; however there were some complications with the recovery systems that warrant further testing. We proved that indeed gravity works--sometimes a little too well. We had hoped that this second flight could include a two-creature crew, but Pokey must remain on earth as a valuable part of our recovery team.” When asked to comment on having been bumped from the flight, Pokey had this to say: “Although I am disappointed, I would prefer that all the kinks have been worked out of the system before I seal myself into that cockpit with Gumby. His clayjones are bigger than mine!”

“The success of the first flight proved that we could do this,” said Peter Clay, Mission Specialist. “Now we can begin to expand our research. This time, Gumby will carry with him an onboard computer in order to get accurate altitude measurements. This will be great, because the next time a reporter asks the question, ‘How high did the rocket go?’ our Chief Science Officer can be more specific than ‘at least hundreds of feet.'" The green Crayon stands over six feet tall, and will be launched with an Aerotech H -180 composite motor, which uses the same propellant as the space shuttle. Three parachutes will be deployed to bring Gumby safely back to earth.

As on the maiden flight, an X-10 video camera will be on board, which will transmit a signal to a computer at Clay Brothers’ On-Site Mission Control (OSMC), where it will be recorded for posterity. The camera will be trained on Gumby’s face--incapable of registering terror--and the ground pulling away should be in full view.