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In The Russian Rocket Reaction, Howard becomes a payload specialist for a deep field space telescope destined for the International Space Station, granting him the opportunity to fly aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket. This scenario reminds me of the episode "Brutus" in Numb3rs (another CBS show), in which the eccentric and quirky theoretical physicist and cosmologist Larry Fleinhardt was selected as a payload specialist on the ISS since his work on the cosmic microwave background had some relevance to satellite signals technology. Like Howard, Fleinhardt had built a space telescope (unknowingly, as part of the star wars missile defense project) and worked for the Department of Defense (specifically, DARPA) on this classified project. Recall that Wolowitz was going to work on a laser-equipped satellite for the DOD.