Published: 03rd July 2021
What the FAQ: How did an adorable, stuffed penguin #LearntoFly in a rocket launch?
On a recent video that was tweeted by a US-based astronaut, Guin Guin, a stuffed penguin was accompanying the space crew. Here's how ended up in space
On June 29, astronaut Megan McArthur tweeted out, ‘I thought @Space_Station would be a good place for my friend Guin-Guin to #LearntoFly. Flippers up, let’s go!’ along with a video that featured a stuffed penguin tied to a ball floating around in a spacecraft. So how did Guin Guin end up going to space? We took a look at how he ended up there.
Who is Guin Guin and how did he go to space?
Back in April, the toy penguin accompanied the crew that flew to the International Space Station on Crew Dragon, SpaceX’s spaceship that took flight to space back in April. In addition to offering the space crew some company, the stuffed toy functioned as a zero gravity indicator or zero-g indicator, allowing the astronauts to understand the pull of earth’s gravity while inside the spacecraft. Last May, NASA astronauts were accompanied by a toy dinosaur who served the same purpose.
What is the history of zero-g indicators?
Zero-g indicators have been used in space travel since 1961, the very first space launch. Russia’s Yuri Gagarin was accompanied by a small doll that he would observe. Since then, a variety of adorable zero-g indicators have made the journey to space. During the Apollo missions, artist Charles Schulz created Snoopy comics based on the moon to spread enthusiasm about a new US space programme. And in 1990, Snoopy hitched a ride to space, along with a variety of lovable characters over the years like Buzz Lightyear and Smokey the Bear.
How has SpaceX popularised the use of zero-g indicators?
Last November, the world was crooning over the most popular zero-g indicator, Baby Yoda himself! SpaceX’s Resilience spaceship was launched with four astronauts accompanied by a Baby Yoda doll. This served as quite a historical moment since it was SpaceX’s first operational flight ever to the International Space Station on behalf of NASA.