The Launch Acceleration Season 5, Episode 23 -  Aired May 3, 2012

The Launch Acceleration

Howard and Bernadette's wedding plans are put in flux when NASA first cancel Howard's mission to space, and then bring it forward. Meanwhile, Penny is thrown for a loop by a comment Leonard makes in the bedroom.

Rate this episode

Guest Stars: Casey Sander as Mr. Rostenkowski, Karl T. Wright as Jimmy, Robert Clotworthy as Dave Roeger (v.o.)

Writers: Chuck Lorre (Story), Steven Molaro (Story), Jim Reynolds (Story), Bill Prady (Teleplay), Steve Holland (Teleplay), Maria Ferrari (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Viewers: 13.91 million Households Rating: 8.3/14 Adults 18-49 Rating: 4.7/16

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title refers to Howard's journey to space being brought forward.

> Sheldon's Knock

Sheldon uses his knock once when goes to Amy's apartment for date night.

Episode Quotes

Mr. Rostenkowski: Walnut?
Howard: No, thank you. I'm allergic.
Mr. Rostenkowski: Oh, sure. My partner used to have that. He's dead now.
Howard: From nuts?
Mr. Rostenkowski: Nah, his wife shot him. But she was nuts, so in a way.

Mr. Rostenkowski: It's gonna be okay, son.
Howard: You really think so?
Mr. Rostenkowski: Of course. A pretty girl like Bernadette, she'll find a new guy.

Amy: We're playing doctor. Star Trek style.

Sheldon: For example, this morning I was calculating the random motion of virtual particles in a vacuum, when suddenly the particles morphed into an image of Amy's dandruff gently cascading down onto her pale, slightly hunched shoulders. Oh, what has that vixen done to me, Leonard? And how do I make it stop?

Sheldon: I assume we're talking about you now?
Leonard: Yeah.
Sheldon: So that's how this works, I complain and then you complain and no one offers any solutions?
Leonard: Pretty much.
Sheldon: Well no wonder the women are winning.

News Stories

Title Date Posted
Episode 5.23 Ratings May 4, 2012

The May 3, 2012 episode of The Big Bang Theory, the penultimate episode of the current season, finished first in the ratings for its time slot and was the night's number #1 program in the key demographics.  Full story

CBS Announces Episode 5.23 April 12, 2012

CBS has announced the penultimate episode of The Big Bang Theory's fifth season will air Thursday, May 3, 2012. Casey Sander (Grace Under Fire) guest stars as Bernadette's father in the episode.  Full story


Howard receives a phone call from NASA to say his mission has been scrubbed. Howard feigns disappointment but seems relieved not to be going to space. Later, the guys are getting their suits prepared for Howard and Bernadette's approaching wedding.

Sheldon arrives at Amy's apartment right on time for date night - he did wait outside her apartment for twenty-five minutes after all. After seeing their friends progress in their relationship, Amy has decided its time they move forward in theirs. Amy has planned an evening of nostalgia for Sheldon, bringing to mind happy childhood memories and hopefully transferring those feelings to her. Amy starts by playing the Super Mario Bros. theme, serving him strawberry Quik and spaghetti with little hot dogs cut up in it. Meanwhile, Leonard begs for Penny's forgiveness after proposing to her in bed.

Howard receives another phone call from NASA, informing him the mission is back on. Bernadette realizes his new call-up date is right before the wedding they had planned. Howard is cool with this and says he'll forget the mission so they can get married as planned, but Bernadette doesn't want to be the one to stand in the way of his dream and thinks he should follow through on the mission. Bernadette realizes her dad will be upset over losing his deposits and says she'll talk to her him. Howard says he would rather talk to Mr. Rostenkowski, man to man, secretly hoping he will stop him from having to go to space.

Sheldon and Leonard are playing three dimensional chess in the apartment, discussing their problems with women. Sheldon is uncomfortable that Amy is trying so hard to make him like her more, while Leonard is still reeling from proposing to Penny mid-coitus. Elsewhere, Howard arrives at Mr. Rostenkowksi's house to talk about postponing the wedding. Howard tells Mike his mission was moved up, clashing with the wedding, and he realizes he's got a lot of nerve asking him to postpone the wedding, so instead they should just cancel the mission. Mike stops Howard and tells him how he didn't like him when they first met, but his mission to go to space convinced him that he'd judged Howard too quickly and that he could be the right guy for Bernadette. Mike tells him he can't turn down an opportunity like this, so he should go to the space station and make him proud.

Leonard and Penny run into each other awkwardly in the apartment stairwell. Leonard realizes Penny never answered his inappropriate question, so she says no, but reassures him they are still dating. Leonard returns to his apartment to find Amy playing doctor with Sheldon, Star Trek style.