Chewie Hands off Lightsaber to NASA


(Photo: Bonnie Burton/LFL)

Luke Skywalker’s original Jedi lightsaber film prop from Return of the Jedi makes its way into space (for real) with NASA astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery in October. To commemorate the historic event, Star Wars characters visited the Oakland International Airport where Chewbacca handed the lightsaber over to NASA’s Space Center Houston during a special ceremony on Aug. 28, 2007.

Arriving by Escalade and Hummer stretch limos (the Falcon‘s in the shop) Boba Fett, Jango Fett, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, X-Wing pilots, Jedi and stormtroopers (from the Golden Gate Garrison of the 501st Legion) accompanied Chewie for the fun-filled press event which took quite a few travelers and tourists in baggage claim by surprise. NASA’s Space Center Houston Director of Marketing Roger Bornstein greeted the intergalactic guests and warmly thanked everyone’s favorite Wookiee for bringing him Luke’s lightsaber.


(Photo: Bonnie Burton/LFL)

“On behalf of NASA’s Space Center Houston, we’re proud to take temporary possession of this great American movie icon, Luke Skywalker’s original Jedi lightsaber,” Bornstein says. “It’ll be trusted into the care of Southwest Airlines and transported to Space Center Houston where it will be held in inventory on the Space Shuttle Discovery STS-120. During the launch scheduled on Oct. 23, 2007, Luke’s original Jedi lightsaber will take its rightful place in space for a mission to the international space station.”

“When the mission is complete and the Jedi lightsaber has traveled almost six million miles it will then be on display at the Space Center Houston and later returned to Lucasfilm,” Bornstein continues. “To paraphrase the famous Han Solo, ‘We’re all clear kids, now let’s load this thing and go home.’” (He was paraphrasing and using his own words so it made since to LOAD the plane with the lightsaber, not BLOW it up.)

To send off the spectacular departure of the lightsaber aboard its Southwest Airlines flight, Chewbacca helped push back the airplane on the tarmac, with his friends, bounty hunters and stormtroopers looking on. The group waved goodbye as the plane set course for Houston.


(Photo: Bonnie Burton/LFL)

Once the flight lands in Houston, stormtroopers (from the Star Garrison of the 501st Legion) will escort the lightsaber off the plane as R2-D2 (from the R2 Builders Group) and other Star Wars characters (from Rebel Legion) kick-off the second half of the celebration in William P. Hobby Airport. The fanfare concludes outside baggage claim where the lightsaber is transported via Hummer with an official City of Webster police escort to NASA’s Space Center Houston where it will be on display through September 4, 2007.

Be sure to check out our Official Star Wars Flickr Blog for our photos from the event complete with Rebel pilots mingling with Southwest Airlines pilots, Chewie on the tarmac, and stormtroopers helping with security.


(Photo: Bonnie Burton/LFL)

Stay tuned to the Official Star Wars Blog for more on the special event.

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82 Responses to Chewie Hands off Lightsaber to NASA

  1. [...] Update: There’s a more extensive article here. [...]

  2. Stooge says:

    Hmm… I’m jealous of a movie prop. Never thought that’d happen.

  3. [...] Chewie Hands off Lightsaber to NASA « The Official Star Wars Blog [...]

  4. [...] of Star Wars, NASA is about to put what may be the ultimate Coolest Gadget into Orbit … Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber. An elegant weapon for a more civilized age, the most famous scifi prop in movie history was given [...]

  5. [...] As Star Wars celebrates its 30th Anniversary, Luke Skywalker’s original Jedi lightsaber heads into space with NASA astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery in October. Chewbacca officially handed the lightsaber over to NASA’s Space Center Houston during a ceremony at the Oakland International Airport, Aug. 28, 2007. Starwars Official Blog [...]

  6. TK1420 says:

    I was on hand at Hobby airport in Houston this afternoon to help receive this item with my 501st brothers and sisters. We had a fantastic time visiting with the public, taking pictures, and helping ‘protect’ this LFL treasure. Thanks to the great folks at LFL, Southwest Airlines, Space Center Houston, the R2 Builders Club, and the friendly and efficient secutirty staff at Hobby airport for a fun and historic troop!

  7. zachstarwalker says:

    well its done for now. if only october would come faster.

  8. mike says:

    I can’t wait to see the pictures of the crew playing with the lightsaber unless we stow in one of the hidden cargo compartments. I am just happy that Lucasfilm and NASA continue a relationship started back before EP I.

  9. kevlar says:

    #1 on Keith Olberman’s Countdown tonight.

  10. collectspace says:

    We covered the arrival of the lightsaber at Houston Hobby on Tuesday and posted some of our pics from the event here: http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-082807a.html

  11. [...] Gedanke hat was. Und dass Chewbacca himself das original Lichtschwert von Luke Skywalker zur NASA gebracht hat, die das Teil in den Weltraum befördern wird, das ist am besten mit einem Songtitel von [...]

  12. [...] of Star Wars, NASA is about to put what may be the ultimate Coolest Gadget into Orbit … Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber. An elegant weapon for a more civilized age, the most famous scifi prop in movie history was given [...]

  13. Paula says:

    You guys are hilarious. Congrats to LFL and the 501st for making another spectacular event.

    I saw some coverage on ABC World News Now this morning and I thought the anchors were going to lose it. (Although Ryan was very confused and kept asking, “Where’s Chewbacca?”)

    I hope the astronauts are allowed to take it out of storage and float it around the cabin.

  14. [...] oficialmente el “arma” para ser embarcada. El blog oficial de Starwars hizo una crónica con fotos del evento, y la noticia también ha sido tratada por Space.com, que explica que se trata del sable de atrezzo [...]

  15. vadersgirl33 says:

    Soo cool!!! Wish I coulda seen the news coverage. Oh, well.

  16. [...] Skywalker’s original Jedi lightsaber will be carried into space by NASA astronauts aboard space shuttle Discovery this [...]

  17. [...] you hear that Luke Skywalker’s original lightsaber will be carried into space on the shuttle Discovery in October? In a ceremony yesterday, Chewbacca (accompanied by various [...]

  18. d says:

    the quote is.. “lets BLOW this thing and go home” not load.

  19. Rick says:

    That’s “STS-120,” not “SDS120″

  20. bonniegrrl says:

    The quote is.. “lets BLOW this thing and go home” not load.

    Yup well aware of that. (Duh)
    But that’s not what the NASA spokesperson SAID.
    He was paraphrasing and using his own words so it made since to LOAD the plane with the lightsaber, not BLOW it up.

  21. I just wanted to thank thank “bonniegrrl” and the rest of the folks at LFL for allowing us members of the Golden Gate Garrison and Rebel Legion to participate on the Oakland side of the event. (BTW – I’m the X-WING pilot in these pics)

    It truly was an honor and a priviledge to participate on something this historic.
    I’m still giddy about this whole surreal experience. Just to mingle with “actual” pilots was a moment in itself. :D

    …Speaking on the above comments of the NASA spokesperson, let’s see if anyone here notices a flub, based on the news video below:

    http://kutv.com/topstories/topstories_story_240084205.html

  22. [...] Chewbacca, Boba Fett, and many of the other characters you treasured until George Lucas decided to embark on his misguided prequel odyssey were at NASA today, to present the space shuttle people with Luke Skywalker’s original Jedi lightsaber, scheduled to take a six million mile trip in October on Discovery. [starwarsblog] [...]

  23. JediBeatle says:

    Im gonna go into space and steal that baby!

  24. Jesus Muñoz says:

    Aunque no hablo ingles se que la Serie de STARWARS es la mejor asi como Lucas Films, les felicito lastima que en latinoamerica no halla algun lugar para disfrutar de su serie, me gustaria que en Colombia halla un lugar para su serie thanks

  25. mike says:

    as cool as this is, the firefly fans beat us by 2 flights. course they just got DVD’s left on ISS.

    http://www.breakingatmo.com

  26. brand 'em' says:

    Kewl. Have light saber, will travel. cheers, mel.

  27. [...] mile trip to the International Space Station before it’s return trip to Earth. According to StarWarsBlog: Luke Skywalker’s original Jedi lightsaber makes its way into space (for real) with NASA [...]

  28. Steven Starkiller says:

    SKYWALKER’ S LIGTHSABER IN THE SPACE???, OHH YEAH!!!, BUT ALSO NOT INCLUDES THE OBI WAN’S PONCHO AND DARTH VADERS HELMET!!!!

  29. Iced1138 says:

    How do we know that this is the real prop and not a MR version?

  30. mike says:

    I doubt they would hype it up if it was the MR version. now for some of the publicity shots they did with R2 prior to STS-118′s launch they used the MR version. I can assure you though that the plan is to fly the original prop on STS-120.

  31. bonniegrrl says:

    It’s an authentic lightsaber prop from the film. Trust me. We don’t send MR replicas into space. ;-)

  32. [...] Chewbacca, Boba Fett, and many of the other characters you treasured until George Lucas decided to embark on his misguided prequel odyssey were at NASA today, to present the space shuttle people with Luke Skywalker’s original Jedi lightsaber, scheduled to take a six million mile trip in October on Discovery. [starwarsblog] [...]

  33. ChuckSchick says:

    Am I the only person who’s catching that that’s NOT Luke’s Original Lightsaber? That’s the lightsaber he built before Return of the Jedi to REPLACE his original.

  34. bonniegrrl says:

    By original I believe it means NOT A TOY. As in original movie prop.

  35. sincitydisciple says:

    At first, i thought this was a joke. Now that I know it’s true… Only confirms my beliefs that it’s time to shut down NASA and spend the money on schools or New Orleans or something else. What’s NASA given us since TANG and Velcro???

  36. mike says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how under informed the general public is on the benefits of the space program or just how much we(NASA) do with such few dollars. For the $16 Billion annual budget that NASA receives it is less than $0.25 per day for each taxpayer. How much more do most people spend on their Dunkin or Starbucks coffee each morning? As for $ per benefit I recommend you check out http://www.thespaceplace.com/nasa/spinoffs.html and http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/ Maybe we haven’t been advertising the commercial spin offs, but space is our future and we will continue to inspire the next generation as only NASA can.

    Plus this similar to the Jamestown plaque that was taken up on STS-117, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first English colony, historical/cultural artifact. The shuttle never takes the full payload capacity and small items like this help raise interest in the space program as well as add flight ballast.

  37. Joan says:

    Gee… I whish I could go up there with the lightsaber!

  38. JediPug1 says:

    Way cool!!!!! Lucky lightsaber……

  39. Wes says:

    No love given for us guys in Houston who picked it up..LOL

  40. bonniegrrl says:

    Actually a lot of love was given to the Houston crew (major news outlets covered it and you can see links to many of the Houston stories here in the comments). But since I was only reporting from Oakland, I couldn’t do a first-person account from Houston.

  41. Droidmech2002 says:

    Well it looks like they got the information wrong again. Thier article states that the other SW characters and R2-D2 are from the Rebel Legion. HA. The rebel Legion wasn’t even there. All the Characters except for the two droids and the Jedi were from the 501st Legion. The Jedi and droids were from the R2 Builders Group. Had any of the reporters actually talked to the 501st or R2 builders guys, they would have had the right information

    And this is a first person account as I was the Jedi and had my R6-D1 there along with Joe H’s R2-D2 and belong to the R2 Builder Group and I talked to the 501st guys quite a bit.

  42. Konn says:

    Way cool? Lucky lightsaber? were have you been this real proof of a light saber jedipug you need to lighten up

  43. buckman says:

    omg!!!! chewy in a hummer, NOW ive sceen it all!!!!

  44. Paul of Turangi, NZ. says:

    If was a REAL Light Sabre, the shuttle as we know it would be HISTORY the moment some clown turns the Blade on, and so would anyone present when the holder gets a fright. Thank Goodness its only a Dummy!
    Also, it looks funny seing Chewie and the others in pictures with our very Primitive Technology. That is, Planes, The Shuttle, and Cars, etc. Not a Repulorlift Transport (Lambda Shuttle, Sentenal Class Shuttle, X-Wing, TIE-Fighter, Viper Remote, etc.) in sight. How embarrassing!

  45. zachstarwalker says:

    wow 47 comment(now 48) i beleive thats a new record for this blog bonnie. oh the video screw up he said luke walker. can we get a count down made untill its actually in space.

  46. Dan says:

    Sure. Luke Walker. He’s just some shmo from Oakland who happened to be there. Maybe he worked at the airport, or something. ;)

  47. Obvious says:

    I can’t wait until Launch Day, it will be another Epic Mark in Star Wars History and to comment on an earlier Reply… What has NASA given us? How about inspiration for Movies such as Star Wars!

  48. Lord vampire says:

    Where is Luke? you should invited Mrk Hamill

  49. auldor says:

    @ChuckSchick: It’s Luke’s original lightsaber in that he built it – his ‘actual’ first lightsaber was his father’s.

    @sincitydisciple: Apart from learning about the Universe? NASA doesn’t just do shuttle missions – a lot of important research is done by NASA that the general public either doesn’t know about or has no interest in because it doesn’t involve aliens. :P

    This is fantastic news. Next should be Darth Vader’s. Then, after that, a box of Force lightning.

  50. GhostRogueII says:

    In response to ChuckSchick, that is Luke’s original JEDI lightsaber. He was not a Jedi when Obi Wan presented his father’s saber to him. So you’re right, kinda. Heh. To clarify, here’s the header from the Star Wars.com Homing Beacon #195:
    “Chewie Hands Off Lightsaber to NASA: Luke Skywalker’s original Jedi lightsaber makes its way into space (for real) with NASA astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery in October.”
    Amazing the impact one word can have. Especially when that one word is Jedi.
    And in response to the comment about what has NASA given us…What about the ultimate space superiority title on planet Earth: Americans on the Moon.
    Who cares how long ago it was, it still has yet to be topped. Next stop, Mars. Hey how about sending the original Jabba prop to Mars? hehe, now THAT would be a sight to remember.
    ‘Nuff said.

  51. the_wookiee_has_no_pants says:

    It belongs in a museum!

  52. Kim Francesangelo says:

    I say, “Lets send George into space. He has the money.” :)

  53. Solinbeb Newau says:

    That’s Luke’s lightsaber from “Return of the Jedi”, I thought they were sending his “original” lightsaber, the one from “A New Hope”.

  54. Ed says:

    Too bad Han Solo wasn’t around to join the fun. Watching the movies so many times, I can’t see Princess Leia and Chewbacca without Han Solo around.

    If Leia had come in her bikini, then people would have forgot about the lighsaber!

    Luke’s costume here is real cool, and it’s a pity that not enough people use this one in conventions, and stick to his ANH attire.

    If this is his ROTJ prop, what happened to the *real* original lightsaber from ANH? Is it still somewhere down a shaft in Bespin? :)

  55. Col says:

    Not so sure about the guy they picked for Luke there.. Looks more like Luke Sky-mosey-er, or Luke Skyy-Drinker. :)

  56. Juul says:

    This is so cool!:)

  57. jedijoe says:

    Why isn’t Luke handing over his own light saber?

  58. Graci says:

    This is so cool!Go Chewie. But I ahve a tiny question. why isn’t Mark Hamile the one handing Luke’s lightsaber to NASA? Oh, and is “Chewie” the real actor from the movies?

  59. Lea says:

    heck, i’m jealous of that prop! xD when i read this on a forum, i thought it was a fanfic! really really cool!

  60. Annie says:

    I would love to be on vacation. I have not had one in six years and desperately need one – maybe even a second honeymoon would be great and I am very jealous of the movie prop. Who would have thought one could be jealous of a movie prop? Maybe a movie star but an inanimate object. Well like yoda says there is no such thing as try only do or do not.

  61. Annie says:

    I know my husband would love to attend the October celebration in Paris. His birthday is coming up in a few weeks and he would love to attend that. We got Rick McCallum’s autograph at C2 in Indianapolis. We just happened to run into him and had him sign our id badges because we did not have anything else on us for him to sign. I was the one that spotted him and had an extra marker on us just in case. Since then, we have a daughter now and want her to experience some good things like how good can always over come evil and that there is always hope like in Star Wars 4 – A new hope. We named her Katrina Rose so maybe people will start learning that good can come out of bad and start to heal from the hurricane and work together to make it happen.

  62. JAKE STANNER says:

    SUPER GRANDIOSO ES LA MEJOR NOTICIA DEL MUNDO QUIEN DIRIA EL GRAN CHEWI EN LA NASA CUMPLIENDO UN LEGADO UNA MISION DIGNA DE UN SERVIDOR LEAL SALUDOS A TODA LA LUCAS FILM

  63. [...] the teaming of LucasFilms with NASA to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Star Wars saga in this post. Last week, in a special ceremony at the NASA Space Center in Houston, many of the most popular [...]

  64. sincitydisciple says:

    Auldor – don’t you think this trivializes the work that NASA does for all of us ignorant tax payers?

  65. Master Becca-linn Elefre says:

    this is really cool. it is one of the best things that will ever go up into space!!!!

  66. [...] Le altre le trovate qui. postato da Carla C. il giovedì 06 settembre 2007 in: [...]

  67. Juul says:

    This is so cool! The best thing that’s going into space ever!

  68. starfleet51 says:

    I also think that Luke Skywalker should of been the one to turn over his Lightsaber to the airline, thanks

  69. [...] El sable de luz de Luke Skywalker, al espacio link [...]

  70. Nigel Mallet says:

    Impressive, most impressive

  71. justin says:

    im lucky i live right next to houston and im going to see it when it is on display

  72. To Mike The Idiot says:

    I don’t care if it’s $.00005 the government steals from me to advertise for LucasFilms–it’s still taken by force through taxes. People who wouldn’t choose the “service” should not be made victims of armed robbery to support such things.

  73. [...] Luke Skywalker’s original Jedi lightsaber film prop from Return of the Jedi by carrying it into orbit. I appreciate the sentiment, but honor the damn thing in a museum, not in the metaphorical [...]

  74. [...] Luke Skywalker’s light saber from the first (Episode IV for the geeks) Star Wars movie was taken into space aboard the space shuttle Discovery.  It will travel over 6 million miles to the International [...]

  75. Matthew Corgan says:

    wow the original luke skywalker lightsaber from the first movie. That is unbelievable. You would love my blog. It is of original nintendo game reviews at http://classicvideogamereviews.blogspot.com

    Enjoyed your blog and posts.

  76. Idetrorce says:

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

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