Four Year of Celebration patches (seen at left) are on board as the space shuttle rockets toward the International Space Station. It's NASA's way of marking the BSA's 100th Anniversary and the rich tradition of Scouts becoming astronauts.
"This collaboration between the BSA and NASA underscores a long history between Scouting and space programs," said BSA Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca. "At the earliest opportunities in Scouting, we are exposing young people to space exploration and preparing them for future work in science and technology fields."
After the shuttle returns, the patches will be on display at the National Scouting Museum in Texas.
This isn't the first joint effort involving Scouting and NASA. In May 1964, 29 of America’s 30 astronauts visited Philmont Scout Ranch for a two-week training trip to learn geological mapping and seismographic studies in preparation for the Apollo programs.
Eleven of the 12 astronauts who have walked on the moon were Boy Scouts, and more than half of all U.S. astronauts have been involved in Scouting. And don't forget that Neil Armstrong and Jim Lovell are both Eagle Scouts.
You might not get to visit the International Space Station, but you and the Scouts in your pack, troop, or crew can earn the Year of Celebration patch. Click here for the requirements (link opens PDF).