WASHINGTON -- NASA's newest module for the International Space Station will get a new name on April 14.
The agency plans to make the announcement with the help of Expedition 14 and 15 astronaut Sunita "Suni" Williams on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report." The program will air at 11:30 p.m. EDT.
The name, which will not be publicly released until the program airs, was selected from thousands of unique suggestions submitted on NASA's Internet site, www.nasa.gov. The "Help Name Node 3" poll asked people to vote for the module's name either by choosing one of four NASA options or by offering their own suggestion. The poll closed on March 20.
"The node naming poll was organic and took on a life of its own," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We received more than a million entries, in large part because social media Web sites and television programs, such as 'The Colbert Report,' took an interest. This spread overall awareness of the International Space Station."
NASA originally planned to announce the node's name on April 28 after it arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. However, the node's arrival at Kennedy is delayed until May, so the announcement moved to April 14.
The show's producers offered to host the name selection announcement after comedian and host Stephen Colbert took interest during the census and urged his followers to post the name "Colbert."
"I certainly hope NASA does the right thing," said Colbert. "Just kidding, I hope they name it after me."
Node 3 is a pressurized module that will provide room for many of the space station's life support systems. Attached to the node is the cupola, a one-of-a-kind work station with six windows around the sides and one on top. Node 3 is targeted for launch in late 2009.
For more information about the station and Node 3, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station
For more information about the node naming poll, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/name_ISS/index.html
For more information about "The Colbert Report," visit: http://www.colbertnation.com