When NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were launched toward the ISS on Saturday, they weren't alone. Joining them on the SpaceX mission was a stuffed toy named Tremor. The sequined dinosaur was first seen during flight preparations, as he sat in one of the rocket's seats. Now, he can be seen floating around during videos provided by the crew.
So how did this dinosaur hitch a ride on the historic space launch? Tremor actually serves an important role for the astronauts, as he's their zero-gravity indicator. And, he's actually not the first stuffed animal to do the job. There's a history of astronauts using plushies to help them realize when the rocket has reached microgravity by beginning to float. In the case of the SpaceX fight, it took about 10 minutes before Tremor started floating in the air.
Tremor quickly started making appearances on video as Behnken and Hurley went about their duties. And now, the sparkly Apatosaurus takes its place next to other well-known zero-g indicators. This includes “Earthy” who gained fame in 2019 when it traveled on SpaceX's unnamed flight to the ISS. In fact, it was so popular with the ISS crew that Earthy decided to stay behind and often pops up in photos.
Another dinosaur has also visited the ISS. In 2013, astronaut Karen Nyberg sewed a plush dinosaur from scraps she found at the station as a gift to her son Jack. Interestingly, Nyberg is the wife of Doug Hurley and their son was also involved with Tremor's selection.
“We both have two boys who are super interested in dinosaurs,” shares Behnken. “We collected up all the dinosaurs between our two houses and ‘Tremor,' the Apatosaurus, got the vote from the boys to make the trip into space today with us.”
The toy, which is made by TY and is part of their Flippables collection, is already flying off the shelves as people want to bring a bit of this historic space voyage home.
Tremor, a stuffed dinosaur made by TY, was used as a zero-gravity indicator for astronauts on the Dragon Endeavour.
Hello adorable plush dino (?) passenger! pic.twitter.com/NK1HZXsb44
— Loren Grush (@lorengrush) May 27, 2020
About 10 minutes into flight, Tremor started floating around—indicating that the crew had reached microgravity.
— May ♡ (@exotic_grape) May 30, 2020