In the lobby of Houston Airport’s Terminal A stands an eight-foot-tall statue of a bovine astronaut in a piebald spacesuit holding a Texas flag, proudly welcoming all passengers to the Space City. While it is officially named Moonwalker, most people simply refer to it as the Space Cow, without a hint of Michael Jackson reference.
The mascot of IAH was not originally intended to grace the terminal lobby. It was created in 2001 for a “Cow Parade” fundraising event for Texas Children’s Hospital. Made by gift and novelty company Silvestri, the sculpture gained a great deal of popularity and was donated to the airport shortly following the fundraiser, where it found its home.
Since its sole purpose was to attract people’s attention to the fundraiser, the artwork was not expected to be a permanent piece, let alone something constantly clambered onto by curious children. Made in foam and fiberglass, the sculpture wore out noticeably over time and had to be removed for repair in 2020, a brief period during which many were disheartened to see their favorite space cow gone.
The Moonwalker has now returned to her place in Terminal A, standing all polished up and ready for a new mission. One of the most popular meeting spots at the airport, its moon rock-shaped base has an a-moo-sing inscription that reads “HOUSTON WE HAVE LANDED,” welcoming visitors flying in from all over the world, if not jumping in from over the moo-n.