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ISS astronaut previews Angry Birds Space while in space

Get ready for! Watch as NASA's Don Pettit flings an actual angry bird in zero gravity; then stick around for a preview of actual gameplay!

That's no's an Angry Birds Space station. (Oh, come on, you know I had to.)
That's no's an Angry Birds Space station. (Oh, come on, you know I had to.) Rovio

Just how big is the Angry Birds franchise? So big it's literally out of this world.

Earlier today, Rovio released the following preview video for Angry Birds Space, the game sequel that's scheduled for liftoff on March 22.

In the video, NASA's Don Pettit demonstrates the flinging of an angry bird. In zero gravity. Aboard the International Space Station. It's equal parts cool and surreal.

And it begs the question: Just how much did Rovio pay NASA for this bit of orbital marketing? Whatever the sum, I think this is the first time we've seen such a blatant product placement in outer space. And it probably won't be the last. (The day I see a big golden arches shining down from the moon is the day I move to, um...hmm.)

Anyway, if you're not interested in the ISS stuff, skip ahead to the 3-minute mark, where you'll see some actual footage of Angry Birds Space in action.

Interesting, no? Obviously this represents a fairly major change in Angry Birds gameplay dynamics. Whether it's for better or worse will be revealed on March 22, when the game arrives on all major platforms (Android, iOS, Mac, and PC).

Truth be told, I tired of the original Angry Birds long ago. Perhaps this will renew my interest. Kind of like NASA was hoping the ISS would renew interest in space travel. Let's see if Rovio has better luck.