Bristol's Shaun the Sheep named as first ‘astronaut’ to fly on NASA's Artemis 1 lunar mission

Shaun is set to travel further away from earth than any human ever Credit: Aardman/ESA

Shaun the Sheep has been assigned a seat on NASA's Artemis 1 mission to the Moon.

Shaun will be taking the first flight of Orion spacecraft, which is planned to go around the Moon and back.

The mission will carry no human crew - but will instead be controlled from Earth, giving Shaun the chance to become the first sheep in space.

Orion will be launched by the Space Launch System from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will enter a low earth orbit before the upper part of the spacecraft fires to take it on an orbit around the Moon.

Shaun’s assignment was announced by the European Space Agency's director for human and robotic exploration Dr David Parker said: “This is an exciting time for Shaun and for us at ESA.

"We’re woolly very happy that he’s been selected for the mission and we understand that, although it might be a small step for a human, it’s a giant leap for lambkind.”

The spacecraft will perform a fly-by of the Moon, using its gravity to gain speed and propel itself 70,000km beyond the Moon, almost half a million kilometres from Earth, which is further than any human, or sheep, has ever travelled before.