Are you hungry for the McAstro?

The NASA space shuttle with the McDonald's golden arches
Original photo by: fossilmike (cc)

In an unprecedented marketing coup, McDonald’s Corp. today announced that it will fund the next NASA shuttle launch. “This will be an outstanding achievement,” said McDonald’s Chief Executive James Skinner. “No other fast-food supplier has ever taken such a giant step,” Skinner added, a punny reference to the now legendary words spoken by Neil Armstrong on the occasion of the first human steps on the moon.

The announcement was made today at a joint news conference at Cape Canaveral by Skinner and NASA Chief Mike Griffin.

As part of the sponsorship arrangement, as soon as the shuttle Discovery returns from its current mission to the the International Space Station it will be renamed and adorned with the trademark golden arches. McDonald’s will, in turn, rename its flagship burger, the Big Mac, as the McAstro, and will launch a number of other co-branding initiatives yet to be determined.

A significant component to the McDonald’s/NASA cooperative is the plan for McDonald’s to supply all of the food for both the shuttle astronauts and ground crew on all future missions.

“We worked long and hard on this deal,” Skinner noted, admitting that there were some conditions. One such condition was that the company would also be required to pay for medical insurance for all those forced to subsist on hamburgers and french fries. “There was some concern that our food wasn’t nutritious enough,” Skinner said, straining to keep his voice calm. His ire may stem from fallout from the 2004 movie Supersize Me, which implied that a diet consisting solely of McDonald’s food could lead to negative health issues.

NASA Chief Griffin quickly headed off any concern about the health of the astronauts and crew. “Our doctors have studied this proposal thoroughly and are confident that the nutritional requirements of the astronauts will be met or exceeded by the prescribed diet.”

“This is just the beginning,” Skinner assured the audience at the press conference. “Eventually the International Space Station will be expanded. There will be a permanent base on the moon. Then Mars. And McDonald’s will be there every step of the way.”

Neither Skinner nor Griffin would comment on a dollar figure for the deal, but it’s rumored to be in the billions. Just launching the shuttle costs upwards of $450 million US.

The next shuttle launch is scheduled for March 16th, 2007.

McDonald’s Corp. shares were up 10% in aftermarket trading.

In a similar marketing move, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the parent company of International Dairy Queen, Inc., announced that Dairy Queen will fund an upcoming climb of Mount Everest with the aim of becoming the first dessert vendor to establish a permanent base camp on the highest mountain in the world.

Note: This report is humor and is not meant to be taken seriously. You did know that, right?