Along with astronauts, SpaceX launched a 'glittery dinosaur' to ISS
In the wee hours of Sunday, Elon Musk's SpaceX launched astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on the historic #LaunchAmerica mission to the International Space Station. The flight went as planned, but there was another passenger onboard - a glittery stuffed dinosaur that no one expected to see. Here is the story behind the special guest's inclusion for the flight.
Though SpaceX has a knack for launching weird things into space (remember the cherry-red Tesla Roadster?), the stuffed dinosaur was not the company's choice; it was picked by the astronauts' sons. Both Behnken and Hurley's sons are dinosaur lovers. So before the flight, they gathered all their dinosaur toys and picked one of them, Tremor, to accompany the astronauts to the space station.
Prior to the launch, Tremor was seen tucked into one of the seats of SpaceX's Crew Dragon, the spacecraft that SpaceX launched atop Falcon 9 to take the astronauts to the ISS. As soon as the crew entered orbit, it automatically slid out of its seatbelt and floated towards the camera lens, serving as a cute little zero-gravity indicator for both the astronauts.
"That was a super cool thing for us...to do for both of our sons who I hope are super excited to see their toys floating around with us on board," Behnken said before the launch, noting that they hope the kids are proud of this.
For space enthusiasts willing to get their hands on the stuffed dinosaur that went into orbit before almost all of us, SpaceX is selling a replica of Tremor. The company has listed the toy, originally a part of TY Inc.'s Flippables collection, on its store for $25. It is no longer manufactured but can be purchased for much less from the resale market.
That said, it must be noted Tremor isn't the first toy to have flown to the ISS. Astronauts have flown with toys for years, due to their role as reliable zero-G indicators. Last year, SpaceX sent a plush Earth toy to the station. And, in 2013, astronaut Karen Nyberg, who's married to Hurley, had sewn a dinosaur for her son while on the ISS.