NASA to Honor 100th Rose Festival Queen
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced today that astronauts on the next space shuttle mission schedule for an early June launch will take a side-trip to the moon to lay a plaque in honor of the 100th Queen of the Portland Rose Festival. Government officials cited the Navy’s canceling of Rose Festival Fleet Week in 2013 as their primary motivation, calling it a reasonable “make -good” for maintaining a century old relationship with Portland.
NASA decided to resurrect the Shuttle program for this mission to “be able to accommodate” the expected number of Royal Rosarians honor guard that traditionally attend the new Queen’s ceremony. Rosarian officials are looking into combining the event with a traditional rose planting.
“Most people don’t know that the Rosarians travel around the world planting roses as Portland’s Official Ambassadors,” says Mark Smith (Royal Rosarian Prime Minister). “This kind of opportunity doesn’t come up often, so a lot of our members are eager to take part. We just need to work out some extra logistics.”
The 126-year old Portland Rose Society will donate a bare root rose, but will not be able to participate in the watering-of-the-rose part of the ceremony as it is unwilling to commit to the long ride without a guaranteed rest stop on the way.
The plaque will be engraved with the new Queen’s name plus the traditional Rosarian statement modified for the occasion: “Around the solar system has gone our slogan, for you a rose in Portland grows. Please water.”
NASA expects the mission to take a week, but with fair winds hopes to bring the shuttle and extended crew back for a safe earth landing earlier claiming that not even astronauts like living in these white suits forever.