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Pigs In Space was a recurring sketch on The Muppet Show in the late 1970s. For those who've never seen an episode, It was a broad parody of shows like Star Trek, Space:1999, or Buck Rogers, and could have been an inspiration for Futurama's Zapp Brannigan. Each installment showed the latest exploits of the spaceship Swinetrek and its crew:

The Muppet Show's guest of the week would usually make an appearance as well.

In-universe, did the sketch ever establish who launched the Swinetrek and who the crew worked for? In other words, was there some Pig version of the Federation? Or some planetary government? Or was the Swinetrek privately owned and operated?

In short, why are there... PIIIGS... IIIN... SPAAAAAAAACE?

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    Because ... they want to seek out new life and new civilizations and boldly go where no pig has gone before? Dec 9, 2016 at 1:19
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    Same reason the History of the World: Part 1 ends with Jews in Space. It's a joke. Dec 9, 2016 at 1:53
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    Portraying a future "..when pigs fly!"? That's funny enough, in & of itself to justify invoking (TV tropes warning) the Rule of Funny. So, basically what @ElliottFrisch commented. Dec 9, 2016 at 2:18
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    Because they were so annoying that they gave them a ship and sent it away from earth. Unfortunately, the pigs took control and overwhelmed the auto-pilot, who they turned into bacon and ate. Now they have a ship.
    – CHEESE
    Dec 9, 2016 at 16:58
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    OT But one of the best graffiti of a sign I ever heard about was on a sign saying something like Speed limit enforced by aircraft that was tagged with "Pigs in space"
    – Peter M
    Dec 9, 2016 at 17:52

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I have seen every episode of The Muppet Show multiple times, although some of them not recently. Watching as a child, I (foolishly) tended to worry about the continuity of Pigs in Space. For example, in one episode the crew and indeed the whole ship were turned into food. Doctor Strangepork's head turned into a bunch of scallions, and the crew began eating the Swinetrek. Yet by the next episode, the whole problem had gone away as if it had never been. This concerned me.

Another thing that concerned me was why the pigs were flying around space and what their mission actually was. So far as I can recall, that was never answered, or even much alluded to. Piggy at one point does disclose that she was extensive trained for the mission (and, by implication, Link was not), but that's about the closest I think it ever came. As a subscriber to Muppet Magazine for the first several years of its existence, I recall several Pigs in Space articles in the magazine, but again they never explained what was ultimately going on.

So I don't think there is an "in-universe in-universe" answer. (The straight in-universe answer is that the Pigs in Space are performers in a third-rate comedy/variety show.*)

*Kermit [under his breath]: Second-rate comedy/variety show.

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  • And now fathers and sons (in-law). Jul 20, 2018 at 2:01
  • I'd nearly forgotten, but I too went through a phase where it bothered me that there was no real continuity connecting the ending of one mini-episode of "Pigs in Space" with the beginning of the next . . .
    – Lorendiac
    Aug 18, 2019 at 21:46
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    "Yet by the next episode, the whole problem had gone away as if it had never been. This concerned me" — I'd suggest your child self might not enjoy much of Star Trek either. Mar 4, 2021 at 13:13

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