When NASA's space shuttles launch into orbit, they don't just carry astronauts and supplies into the final frontier. There's a lot of other weird stuff that makes the out-of-this-world journey, too. Here nine recent space oddities carried into orbit on NASA shuttles.
In 2009, as the New York Mets organization prepared to move its baseball team into the new Citi Field in Queens, N.Y., a piece of hardware from the team's old home, Shea Stadium, made a special trip into space. On May 11, 2009, the home plate from Shea Stadium launched into orbit on the space shuttle Atlantis' STS-125 mission— the last trip to the Hubble Space Telescope.
"The only problem was the plate wouldn't fit as is into the shuttle's locker designated for memorabilia," said Pearlman. "Rather than leave it 'home,' Massimino was able to trim off the plate’s black-colored border using a razor, flying just the 'white part.' The two parts were reunited once the plate was back on the ground."
Astronaut Mike Massimino, a New Yorker and devoted Mets fan, brought the plate with him and his six crewmates on their mission to overhaul the aging Hubble Space Telescope. After journeying into space, the plate was returned to Earth, and Massimino was invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game upon his return.
Shea Stadium in Queens's Flushing neighborhood was demolished after serving as the home of the Mets from 1964 until 2008. The Mets placed the flown plate on display in Citi Field, which opened its doors in the spring of 2009.