Florida, November 18, 2020: Four astronauts arrived at the International Space Station this week with an unusual friend – Baby Yoda. A Baby Yoda plush toy joined the SpaceX Crew-1 flight as the team’s “zero-G indicator”.
Zero-gravity indicators are small objects that are allowed to float freely to confirm when the spacecraft enteres lower gravity.
“We’ve got Baby Yoda on board trying to take a seat right now,” Leah Cheshier, NASA communications specialist, said during a live stream of the historic launch. The launch marked the first operational flight of a commercially developed Crew Dragon capsule.
When the toy landed in astronaut Victor Glover’s seat, Cheshier joked, “Maybe Baby Yoda’s trying to pilot the vehicle.”
The footage of Baby Yoda inside the spacecraft has gone viral on social media. Netizens can’t stop gushing over Baby Yoda travelling to space.
— Spaceflight Now (@SpaceflightNow) November 16, 2020
The plush toy joined a crew of NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, as well as JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
The hatches are open and NASA's @SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts Shannon Walker, @Astro_Soichi, @AstroVicGlover, and @Astro_illini are the newest residents aboard the @Space_Station. Welcome aboard! pic.twitter.com/WYwC7jRVQk
— NASA (@NASA) November 17, 2020
Baby Yoda, a character from the show The Mandalorian, often messes with his caretaker’s spacecraft controls, making it an apt choice for the SpaceX crew.
Astronaut Shannon Walker shows how astronauts store food, supplies, and equipment aboard the Crew Dragon Resilience. What would you want to bring with you to space? pic.twitter.com/mYxFN0OAdo
— NASA (@NASA) November 16, 2020
With this journey, Baby Yoda has joined an elite group of plush toys that have served as zero-gravity indicators in the past.
In May, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley entered the International Space Station on SpaceX’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket with a dinosaur plush toy named Tremor.
The four astronauts of SpaceX crew-1 flight will remain at the orbiting lab until their replacements arrive on another Dragon in April.