American astronaut Anne McClain, who is a part of Expedition 58/59 to the International space station, shared the beautiful (and cute) photo below on her Twitter account, saying “Yes, buddy, that’s your Mother Earth. Isn’t she beautiful?”.
This adorable Little Earth arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) with the history-making SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-1 mission on March 3, 2019.
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk named the toy “Super high tech zero-g indicator”. He tweeted on March 1 that “Super high tech zero-g indicator added just before launch!”
The toy was likely added to the Crew Dragon to give a visual indicator of microgravity for viewers tuning in to view the spacecraft’s interior during the live broadcast.
Anne McClain has adopted the adorable plushie anthropomorphic Earth toy as the newest member of the crew. The little planet is now a social media star.
The three crewmembers of Expedition 58 (NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko) excitedly began to snap pictures of the toy Earth wandering the orbiting laboratory, drinking coffee, conducting drills and longingly gazing at “Mother Earth”.
Anne Charlotte McClain (born June 7, 1979) is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and a NASA astronaut. She was selected by NASA in 2013 as part of NASA Astronaut Group 21, which had the highest percentage of female finalists with four men and four women.
She was commissioned as an Army officer in 2002 and immediately attended graduate school. Her studies at the University of Bath focused on the unsteady aerodynamics and flow visualization of free-to-roll nonslender delta wings and her research was later published through the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). She concurrently researched the security burden in developing countries at the nearby University of Bristol. Following graduate school, McClain earned her wings as an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scout/attack helicopter pilot. She began her operational flying career with 2nd Battalion, 6th Cavalry Regiment at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii as an Air Traffic Control Platoon Leader, Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Platoon Leader, then later Detachment Commander. She served 15 months in Operation Iraqi Freedom, flying more than 800 combat hours on 216 combat missions as pilot-in-command and Air Mission Commander. In 2009, she attended the Aviation Captain’s Career Course and was then assigned to 1st Battalion, 14th Aviation Regiment at Fort Rucker as the battalion operations officer and OH-58D instructor. In May 2010, she was appointed Commander of C Troop, 1st Battalion, 14th Aviation Regiment, responsible for the Army’s initial entry training, instructor pilot training, and maintenance test pilot training in the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. She completed Command and General Staff College and the C-12 fixed-wing multiengine qualification courses in 2011 and 2012. She then attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, graduating with Class 143 in June 2013 at the same time she was selected as a NASA astronaut candidate.
Major McClain is a Senior Army Aviator and has logged more than 2,000 flight hours in 20 different rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. She is a rated pilot and instructor pilot in the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior and a rated pilot in the C-12 Huron (King Air), UH-60 Blackhawk, and UH-72 Lakota.
McClain was selected in June 2013 as one of eight members of the 21st NASA astronaut class. Her Astronaut Candidate Training included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in International Space Station systems, spacewalks, robotics, physiological training, T-38 flight training, and water and wilderness survival training. She completed astronaut candidate training in July 2015 and is now qualified for future assignment.
Anne McClain is currently a part of the Expedition 58/59 crew that launched to the International Space Station in December 2018.
On December 3, 2018, a Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko. It was the first manned launch since the Soyuz MS-10 spaceflight aborted shortly after launch on 11 October 2018 due to a failure of the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle boosters. It was the 100th orbital launch of 2018.