The Cuddly Side Of NASA Technology

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Such stuffed animals have a practical purpose:

Astronauts have carried stuffed dolls to space before, and cosmonauts have a tradition of launching with small plush toys as talismans and “zero-g indicators.” When the dolls, which are suspended from the Soyuz spacecraft’s control panel, begin to float, the crew can tell they have entered orbit. Nyberg’s crew launched with a plush white dog her Soyuz commander, Fyodor Yurchikhin, had received as a gift 30 years ago and had flown into space twice before. A small black cat doll, named “Dimlar,” served as the zero-gravity indicator for the crew that arrived Wednesday (Sept. 26), named after cosmonaut Oleg Kotov’s children, Dima and Lara.

Astronaut Karen Nyberg took the above photo:

Made in space!! I made this dinosaur for my son last Sunday, September 22. It is made out of velcro-like fabric that lines the Russian food containers found here on the International Space Station. It is lightly stuffed with scraps from a used t-shirt.

(Hat tip: Lauren Davis)