Stuffed animals in space

Stuffed Animals in Space
Image credit: NASA

As we’ve often said, stuffies love adventures. They have been everywhere in one way or another. For example there have been quite a few stuffed animals in space.

Yes, astronauts also love stuffed animals. It’s not exactly known when were the first stuffed animals went in space. But we do know a few of them that went there and one that was actually born in the International Space Station.

The adventures of stuffed animals in space

The first stuffed animal born in space is this stuffed dinosaur. It was made by NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg during her stay at the International Space Station. She made the stuffie out of unneeded materials she found around the ISS.

This all happened last year. The dinosaur us modeled after a Tyrannosaurus Rex. It’s made with olive green and light green fabric. It is velcro-like and lines the Russian food containers that are used to store food at the ISS. The light green part is from a T-shirt. It is stitched together with white thread. Karen has said more than once that she likes to craft things. So she made the toy for her son.

There is actually a tradition for stuffed animals in space. Astronauts have long brought stuffies with them up in space. It’s not exactly known when that tradition began. But to astronauts stuffies are known as both talismans and “zero-g indicators”, reports. The toys are suspended from the Soyuz spacecraft’s control panel. When they begin to float, the crew knows thay have entered orbit.

For example during Karen’s mission. her stuffed T-Rex wasn’t alone. The crew had used a plush white dog for a talisman. It already had two space mission behind it and it was owned by the commander Fyodor Yurchikhin. For a zero-g indicator a small black stuffed cat was used. It was named Dimlar after crewmember Oleg Koto’s children – Dima and Lara.

Other stuffed animals in space include Smokey the Bear. He went up in space in 2012. He’s been around since the 1940s and tries to remind about the issue with human-caused fires. So he served as a talisman, a zero-g indicator and an awareness promoter.

During that same mission many members of the crew had birthdays. For example Smokey turned 68. Three austronauts also celebrated their birthdays in space. One of them got a very cool present – a stuffed kangaroo.

Most recently the members of the last mission to return also had brought some stuffed animals in space. A stuffed giraffe served as a talisman and indicator.

But not all stuffed animals can go in space. It has to be made out of special materials. Most stuffies contain polyester filling which is not ideal as it has off-gassing issues. So every stuffie that wants to go to a space travel first has to be approved by NASA.