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NASA Delays Mission to Install Colbert Treadmill

By Ed O'Keefe

UPDATED 6:04 p.m. ET

NASA will not launch Shuttle Discovery early Wednesday morning due to a problem with a valve in its fuel tank. The mission was also postponed early Tuesday morning due to weather.

Whenever it blasts off, Discovery's crew will deliver seven tons of equipment to the International Space Station, including a treadmill named for Comedy Central host Steven Colbert. Earlier this year the talk show host won a NASA-sponsored competition to name part of the International Space Station, earning more than 230,000 of the 1.2 million votes cast.

Despite his victory, NASA instead gave the comedian what he calls "the traditional NASA consolation prize": a treadmill with his name on it.

C.O.L.B.E.R.T., or the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill, will serve as the Space station's second treadmill. It's a bit louder and bigger than the first, but will help the crew complete the mandated eight combined hours of daily exercise.

Before the launch, Colbert videotaped an "attaboy" message to the astronauts (watch above).

"I just want to congratulate you on a great year. Your dramatic pictures from Cassini. Finding water on Mars, and your dramatic discovery of a new administration that believes in science," he jokes.

"It's been a great year for me too. I of course was the winner of your online node-naming competition. Despite my coming in first place in the popular vote, you named the node tranquility. Yeah, that'll scare the aliens."

By Ed O'Keefe  | August 25, 2009; 10:57 AM ET
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Just another left-wing weather conspiracy against Stephen Colbert.

Posted by: dkp01 | August 25, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I haven't watched Colbert since his ultra-tacky Obama/Odierno guest slot. That put me off for life. None of the three came out of that stunt looking very clever.

Posted by: kevrobb | August 25, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

kevrobb, you have absolutely no sense of humor. All three of 'em came off looking great. I bet you don't even think this picture (from the front page of Raleigh's newspaper; discussed in today's Gene Weingarten chat) is funny (you have to copy it into your explorer bar, all in one line):

(Think she's be happy if we compromised by just giving up the PUBIC option?)

Posted by: Dan4 | August 25, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Of all the Colbert performances to take issue with, something done as part of a live USO performance would probably be the last thing I would have come up with. That's wild.

Posted by: dkp01 | August 25, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

No, that's quite funny. Odierno and Obama weren't.

Posted by: kevrobb | August 25, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

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