- SpaceX launched two NASA astronauts into space on Saturday in a historic feat, and a mysterious, sequinned dinosaur plushie accompanied them.
- The dinosaur began floating around the cabin of the Crew Dragon as it entered orbit.
- The toy appears to be a TY product that is no longer manufactured.
- Visit Business Insider South Africa's homepage for more stories.
SpaceX launched its most precious cargo yet into space on Saturday: two NASA astronauts and a plush, sequinned dinosaur toy.
At 21:22 South African time, a Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying the Crew Dragon spaceship that SpaceX designed and NASA funded. It's the first time a commercial spacecraft has carried humans into space, and the first time astronauts have launched from the US since the end of the Space Shuttle Program nine years ago.
It's also the first time a sequinned dinosaur has been to space. (Though dinosaur fossils have traveled beyond our atmosphere before.)
The toy carries on a tradition of spaceships carrying plushies with them. Once the toys start to float around, observers know the ship has left the pull of Earth's gravity. That's why they're often called "zero-gravity indicators."
About 10 minutes after launch, the plushie appeared in NASA's live feed of the Crew Dragon, where it was floating around the cabin of the spaceship. It drifted towards Behnken, and he pushed it aside.
"Looks like we saw our zero-G indicator floating around there," a NASA commentator said as the dinosaur appeared. "I know Bob and Doug owe us a little bit about what exactly that is that they brought up with them."
It is unclear who picked out the dinosaur, why they chose it, or whether it has a name.
Observers first spotted the dinosaur in NASA's live feed of launch preparations on Wednesday, when the rocket was first scheduled to liftoff (and then delayed due to poor weather).
When the Crew Dragon made its first test flight to the International Space Station, with no astronauts on board, it carried a plushie Earth named "Buddy." The toy later sold out in stores.
However, TY no longer manufactures the Tremor Dinosaur. It is out of stock in the US on the Amazon, Walmart, and Barnes and Noble online stores.
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