Washington, May 30 : As the space shuttle Discovery lifts off for the International Space Station on Saturday, it will mark the beginning of a new education initiative between NASA and Disney Parks.
A 12-inch-tall toy of Buzz Lightyear-a fictional astronaut character in the full-length animated film 'Toy Story'-will be carried aboard the shuttle to infuse in students a liking for studies in science, technology, and mathematics.
As part of the initiative, Disney's Youth Educational Series (Y.E.S.) and NASA have also developed an online program called the Space Ranger Education Series, which includes educational games for students and materials for educators to download and integrate into their classroom curriculum.
"NASA is excited to help students understand the science and engineering currently underway on the International Space Station. The educational games and resources from this partnership will allow students to explore the science and math behind space exploration with a beloved character," said Joyce Winterton, NASA assistant administrator for Education.
Five online games featuring Buzz Lightyear will be available on NASA's official Web site on Saturday.
NASA's Toys in Space project has been helping children learn science and mathematics by using toys flown aboard the shuttle since 1985.
"We are thrilled that Buzz's lifelong dream of space travel finally will come true thanks to NASA. This launch fulfills his dream, and we hope it will inspire countless children to stay interested in science and believe in their own dreams," said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.