An anthropomorphic plush Earth toy that arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) with the SpaceX DM-1 Crew Dragon has been inducted into the crew of Expedition 58.
The DM-1 Crew Dragon spacecraft was launched aboard a Falcon 9 from the Kennedy Space Center on Saturday, March 2. Just prior to the launch, SpaceX founder and CEO, Elon Musk tweeted out a picture of a plush Earth toy stating, “Super high tech zero-g indicator added just before launch!”
The toy was likely added to the spacecraft to give a visual indicator of weightlessness for viewers tuning in to view the spacecraft’s interior during the live broadcast. However, once aboard the ISS, the three crew members of Expedition 58 excitedly began to snap pictures of “Earth” wandering the station, drinking coffee, conducting drills and longingly gazing at “Mother Earth”.
Celestial Buddies, a Connecticut-based toy company that makes the “Earth Buddy” toy, was not notified of the product’s inclusion in the mission prior to the launch. However, after a torrent of orders depleted their stock of the toys, they soon began to suspect that something was afoot.
“We at Celestial Buddies had no advance information about Earth’s participation in the launch, although a sudden flurry of orders for Earth in the 48 hours prior to lift off had made us wonder if something was afoot,” explained Celestial Buddies Vice President Jessie Silbert. “By the time the rocket left Cape Kennedy, however, our entire inventory of Earth had been completely sold out, with scores of orders still unfilled.”
In order to ensure that all customers are satisfied, Celestial Buddies has offered the chance to wait, receive a full refund or a larger more detailed version of the toy at no additional cost.