Although at the beginning Homer is shown to have never been awarded Employee of the Week, losing out to an inanimate carbon rod, he was actually made Employee of the Month in episode 305, Homer Defined, after averting the core meltdown. It's not out of the question that said award was revoked when the truth of Homer's heroism was revealed.
Interestingly, all three of these episodes have Homer's name in the title.
In The Simpsons Tapped Out, after completing the Winter 2015 Event's Act 3 quest part "The End of the Beginning Pt. 21", Maggie is seen as like the "Homer Baby" from this episode's ending as well as the 2001: Space Odyssey theme song, revealing that her finger is that which is in a splash screen of the game.
The cutscene is teased im the upcoming event along with a reference to the Inanimate Carbon Rod, "Deep Space Homer 2016", which is actually the event related to this episode, and that event is primed into the game since the Thanksgiving 2015 Event.
When the NASA scientists watch the clip of Home Improvement, Tim Taylor says, "Looks like it's back to jail for me" after running over his neighbor, Wilson. Tim Taylor was played by Tim Allen, who actually spent two years in a Michigan prison for cocaine possession in the 70's.
The next show the scientists use to show that audiences love blue-collar slobs is FOX's own Married... with Children. The audience laughing hysterically and applauding at Al refusing Peg's offer of sex then hollering as he flushes a toilet parodies the fact that Married... with Children's audience were often viewed as being loud and excitable to the point of being obnoxious.
Homer's line "Hello, is this President Clinton? Good. I figured if anyone knew where to get some Tang, it'd be you!" is a double entendre referring to Clinton's reputation for womanizing.
When the space shuttle is attempting reentry, the song Aldrin and Banyon hum is "the Battle Hymn of the Republic" while Homer sings the Golden Graham's cereal jingle.
NASA sees Homer in a clip from outside of the space shuttle, but there is no video camera outside.
In some of the extreme close-ups during the montage of Homer eating potato chips, Homer's beard is colored yellow instead of its usual tan color.