I’m proud of the things I’ve accomplished during my 30 years as a NASA engineer at the Kennedy Space Center. But there’s one thing that has never sat right with me. One thing I’ve always regretted, and now feel the need to get off my chest, once and for all.
We accidentally sent the cast of Blossom into space for a couple of hours once.
It was a huge blunder on our part. You see, the cast of Blossom showed up one day completely out of the blue and asked to take a tour of the Space Center. The whole gang was there: Mayim Bialik, Joey Lawrence, Ted Wass, Michael Stoyanov, Jenna von Oÿ—even Barnard Hughes made it out. It was pretty exciting for us, being big fans of the show. Unfortunately, this led to some reckless decision-making on our part.
The biggest mistake we made was when, halfway through the standard tour, we decided to let the cast of Blossom into the shuttle and give them a full-blown launch simulation. What happened next still haunts me to this day. Maybe it was because we were excited, or maybe it was because we wanted to show off, but we resolved to just go ahead and send them all to space.
The next thing I know, we’re all watching in horror as the cast of one of NBC’s most beloved family sitcoms blasted off into the sky. Just as our equipment told us they had left the earth’s atmosphere, I remember getting this sinking feeling in my stomach, thinking it was all over.
The next thing I know, we’re all watching in horror as the cast of one of NBC’s most beloved family sitcoms blasted off into the sky.
You’ve got to understand the stakes. America loved that family. There was Mr. Russo with his single-dad, struggling-musician charm (played by the tremendously talented Ted Wass), and Blossom’s brother Tony (Michael Stoyanov in a career-defining role) with his history of drug addiction that seemed pretty edgy for a family sitcom at the time. And, of course, the lovable Blossom, a role that made Mayim Bialik into a ’90s icon.
If we’d lost them in orbit, we’d have been in huge trouble. Our funding cut in half. Our jobs on the line. Blossom almost certainly canceled. It would’ve been a disaster for everyone involved.
Well, they were up there for a couple of hours, orbiting the planet on autopilot, before we figured out a way to get them back home. Luckily, it turned out Ted Wass actually had some experience as a pilot, and we were able to talk him through the return path. When he brought them in for a landing at the Space Center just a few short hours after liftoff, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. Everyone was okay, if a little shaken up. Joey Lawrence wasn’t even aware of what had happened since he’d passed out from fear during the launch. In the end, the cast were good sports about the whole thing.
But we never should’ve put the cast of Blossom in a position where they could be launched into space for a couple of hours on accident. It was hugely irresponsible of us. I’m just thankful everything turned out all right, because it easily could not have, and that would’ve been awful.