Baby Yoda Heads to the International Space Station Alongside Astronauts on SpaceX Crew Dragon
Baby Yoda, the beloved character from Disney's The Mandalorian, is onboard the mission to serve as the crew's zero-gravity indicator
Baby Yoda is headed to space!
The beloved Mandalorian character joined the four astronauts onboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon "Resilience" as they launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday and headed to the International Space Station (ISS).
As shown in a livestream from NASA/SpaceX, the crew members — NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi — sat inside the spaceship while a plush Baby Yoda floated around them.
"Inside the cabin, we have four astronauts — five actually, we've got Baby Yoda onboard, trying to take a seat right now," NASA’s communications specialist Leah Cheshier joked on the livestream. "Baby Yoda is trying to pilot the vehicle."
At another point, Glover told SpaceX mission control after getting settled for the evening, "Baby Yoda says you guys can come back onboard," meaning that the cameras inside the spacecraft could be turned back on, according to CBS affiliate WKMG.
Baby Yoda, a character from Disney's spin-off Star Wars series, is aboard the mission to serve as the crew's zero-gravity indicator, USA Today reported.
This means once the stuffed animal begins to float, buckled-in passengers will know that the spacecraft has reached zero gravity or a state of weightlessness.
The character joins an elite list of plush toys that have previously taken on the role, including a blue and pink sequined dinosaur on Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley's SpaceX Crew Dragon mission in May and a stuffed Earth toy on an uncrewed test of the Crew Dragon in March 2019.
More than three months after the SpaceX Crew Dragon returned from space following its historic launch in May, the Resilience launched on Sunday evening at 7:49 p.m. from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
According to the Associated Press, the crew named their Dragon capsule "Resilience" due to the challenges 2020 has wrought.
“It’s been a tough year for everybody for a lot of different reasons. We felt like if the name of our vehicle could give a little hope, a little inspiration, put a smile on people’s face, then that is definitely what we wanted to do,” said Hopkins, who will serve as commander for the mission.
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The four astronauts will remain in orbit until the springtime, at which point their replacements will arrive on board another SpaceX Dragon capsule. They will reportedly receive regular food and supply deliveries through a cargo version of the capsule.
It also marks the second-ever crewed mission for Elon Musk's SpaceX, and the first operational flight as part of NASA's commercial crew mission.