Little-Known Santa No. 23

Little-Known Santa No. 23
Little-Known Santa No. 23 | Source

Meet the spacey, far-out dude with the flair for suited-up souped-up suborbital (as well as orbital) flight: Sput Nick, our Little-Known Santa #23!

For centuries of holiday tradition, each and every good and bad little boy and girl the world over has known that Santa has somehow managed to circle the globe every Christmas Eve, aided by his elves and his sleigh and his trusted flying reindeer, to distribute gifts and goodies (and the occasional lump of coal) to every slumbering household on the planet.

But it wasn’t until the 4th day of October, 1957, that scientists were finally able to verify the space flight of this guy. This Nick nicked the banner headlines of virtually every one of the world’s leading newspapers. The rocket-jet-powered jaunt of this jolly old elf had taken him rapidly up and into a low and elliptical orbit, enabling him to complete a full global circuit in just over 96 minutes! This proved to be a significant time-saver for Sput, as his previous best time — granted, under mere 9-reindeer-power, fueled by oats and silage — had stretched to well over 39 hours. (And that is why many European nations still celebrate December 26th as either Boxing Day or the Second Day of Christmas; until recently, their gifts never seemed to make it under the tree during the first 24 hours of the holiday!)

At the time, there were some who decried the celebration of Sput’s initial recorded orbital flight as a Russian hoax. They claim that Sput could never have been launched from the ‘Russian North Pole’, as was initially publicized, arguing that no such thing really existed. Though the undersea Lomonosov Ridge does stretch from Russia’s northern Laptev Sea to well beneath the Arctic pack ice, so too do undersea ridges extending from Greenland, Norway, Canada and Alaska. The Arctic ice mass is thus more properly perceived as global territory to be shared by the world’s nations, not to be claimed by any single country. The North Pole, it turns out, is no man’s land (except, of course, Santa’s.)

Nonetheless, the hullabaloo over LKS#23’s journey was an embarrassment for the fledgling U.S. space program, which had to settle for sending Alan Shepard into space almost four years later. (As Shepard’s flight took place in early summer, it was not necessary for him to take aboard any presents, stocking stuffers or holiday decorations.)

But Sput was not just a pioneer of space flight. He led the way in other fields as well. One of these was fashion. His distinctively gelled hairdo of four prominently radiating spikes was to usher in an entire range of radical coifs, from punk pikes to mohawks to mullets to the dreaded bald-guy-ponytail. His beard introduced society to a wave of facial hairstyles, including the several-day stubble, the van dyke, the soul patch, the groucho, the dali, the zorro, the hitler, and the Wilford-Brimley-ish walrusy flavor saver. And the nifty multi-purpose pressurized suit stitched up for him by hard-working Mrs. Claus has served as the prototype for just about every space suit since.

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chuckbl profile image

chuckbl 4 years ago from Scotland

I love your Santa hubs, especially seeing as it is almost Christmas. You are getting me in the mood!

rickzimmerman profile image

rickzimmerman 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio Author

Thanks, chuck! I'm going to keep posting more as Christmas nears.

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