Sure, Elon Musk sent a Tesla Model X into space but astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi took even more precious cargo aboard the International Space Station (ISS) over the weekend.
Shuttled by Musk’s Crew Dragon, the space station’s newest roommates brought along a pet that they knew would fare well in the zero-gravity environment. Baby Yoda, from Disney+‘s The Mandolorian, was seen floating around the capsule as crewmates entered the ISS.
The plush Baby Yoda continues a long-standing tradition for astronauts to bring an earthling object as a zero-gravity indicator. However, the recent pop-culture explosion around the cute little Foundling makes him the perfect ambassador for humans exploring space.
The launch also carried historical significance as it marked the second-ever human mission to the ISS by a private company. Both were accomplished by SpaceX which has been developing breakthrough reusable rocket technology that seems like the stuff of science fiction. Their latest trip was aboard their largest and most modern spacecraft, the Dragon.
From SpaceX’s website:
The Dragon spacecraft is capable of carrying up to 7 passengers to and from Earth orbit, and beyond. It is the only spacecraft currently flying that is capable of returning significant amounts of cargo to Earth, and is the first private spacecraft to take humans to the space station.
The Dragon’s first successful human cargo reached the ISS on June 1st of this year and was prefaced by a head banging preflight ritual of blasting AC/DC and Black Sabbath.