Plush toy Little Earth nicknamed “Buddy” has had an eventful week with astronauts at the International Space Station after it was launched by SpaceX’s Dragon last weekend. The toy designed by Celestial Buddies was launched along with a dummy dressed in a space suit called Ripley named after Ellen Ripley from “Alien” movie series.
The dummy sized like a normal human being was sent to ensure that the first commercial spacecraft for carrying human astronauts would be safe and comfortable. The dummy “Ripley” had sensors at nerve points like head, neck and spine region to understand how the experience would be for astronauts that are likely to go the same path by summer this year. As Little Earth was added during the last moment he seems to have grabbed all the attention from Ripley who would have loved to have the company of Starman, the dummy that had taken a ride in Tesla Roadster during its elliptical orbit to Mars last year.
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk had teased the appearance of Little Earth on Twitter just the day before launch of Dragon on Twitter with a picture and caption of “super high tech zero-g indicator added before launch”. Earlier too toys have been part of space launches specifically in flights that have reached zero gravity but Little Earth is the cutest of them all due to its beatific expression of wonderment.
Musk also shared a video of the toy inside the Dragon when it was floating due to zero gravity. The docking of Dragon starts a new era of human spaceflight and when the hatch opened, Little Earth’s trip at the space station began officially. Little Earth started its first official day on ISS by taking a beautiful picture of the earth which was shared on social media Twitter by astronaut Anne McClain.