RadioShack Corporation (NYSE: RSH) today provided the fuel to launch Lance Bass of *NSYNC on the first stage of his trip to the International Space Station (ISS).
RadioShack backing enabled the 22-year-old pop singer to begin medical screening at The Institute for Bio-Medical Problems (IBMP) near Moscow, a grueling step that will determine whether he has the right stuff for a trip to ISS onboard a Russian rocket. If he passes the medical screening and then successfully completes six months of cosmonaut training, he would blast off from Kazakhstan on Oct. 22 and return Nov. 1.
RadioShack's involvement with space exploration complements its brand position of demystifying technology for consumers: ``You've got questions. We've got answers.'' Without advances made possible by space technology, digital products that consumers enjoy today such as satellite direct-to-home television and wireless phones would not be possible.
``The Lance Bass flight will enhance RadioShack's on-going space program, which started last year when we delivered Father's Day gifts to the space station crew,'' said Jim McDonald, senior vice president for marketing and advertising for RadioShack. ``In addition to providing surprise gifts to the crew members, we also filmed the first-ever television spot on the International Space Station.''
In that TV spot, RadioShack gave TV viewers a look at personal life aboard the ISS with a commercial showing station commander Yuri Usachev receiving his gift. The gift was launched to the space station on April 28, 2001, from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on the same Soyuz rocket that carried pioneer space tourist Dennis Tito, who was not involved with the filming of the commercial.
Presentation of the gift, a RadioShack ``talking picture frame'' personalized by his daughter Evgenia with a photo and voice greeting, became the first commercial ever shot on board the ISS. The 30-second slice-of- orbital-life commercial was telecast a dozen times on several networks in the weeks leading up to Father's Day on June 17.
The two cosmonauts on the Soyuz flight, Talgat Musabayev and Yuri Baturin, also carried up a talking picture frame for U.S. astronaut James Voss, the other dad on the Expedition Two crew. He wasn't shown in the commercial due to U.S. government rules against federal employees endorsing commercial products.
Future space projects supported by RadioShack include the first satellite to be built on board the ISS, which may be released for a trip to lunar orbit by late 2003. The ``SuperSat'' would be the first deep-space probe able to send back live digital television over its high-bandwidth communications link. Its purpose is to map the Moon's poles in a search for safe landing spots for future surface rovers, which will be driven by RadioShack customers by remote control from Earth.
Both the ISS commercial and RadioShack's sponsorship of the Lance Bass mission were arranged by LunaCorp of Fairfax, VA., (www.lunacorp.com ) working in cooperation with MirCorp of Amsterdam, the Netherlands (www.mir-corp.com ).
RadioShack Corporation is one of the nation's largest and most trusted consumer electronics retailers. With more than 7,200 stores and dealers, RadioShack sells more wireless telephones, telecommunications products and electronic parts and accessories than any other retailer. It is estimated that 94 percent of Americans live or work within five minutes of a RadioShack store or dealer. For more information, visit the RadioShack corporate Web site at www.radioshackcorporation.com .