COLBERT launching into space today


UPDATE: The Tuesday morning launch was delayed by weather. NASA will try again on Wednesday.

Fans of the “Colbert Report” on Comedy Central made “Colbert” the top vote-getter to be the name of Node 3 of the International Space Station. But NASA chose “Tranquility” instead. Nonetheless, the TV personality will have a presence on the space station, to be delivered by the Space Shuttle Discovery launching today.

After speculation that the orbiting station’s toilet would be named for Colbert, the space agency opted instead for the treadmill being sent up to help the astronauts and cosmonauts flex their muscles and stay fit in the weightlessness of space. It has been designated the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT).

Stephen Colbert delivered a special message on NASA Television last evening at the end of NASA’s routine fueling commentary for the launch preparations. If all goes as planned, Discovery and its seven-member crew will be aloft by the time you read this report. The launch was set for 1:36 am Tuesday from Florida. The 13-day mission will deliver scientific experiments, supplies and equipment – including one treadmill named COLBERT – to the Space Station.