Baby Yoda, the undeniable star of Disney+’s Star Wars hit The Mandalorian, has found a new off-screen career as zero-gravity indicator for the crew of SpaceX’s dragon capsule. The Child, as he’s referred to in-universe by the characters of The Mandalorian, was spotted floating around during the Crew Dragon’s livestream on Sunday, according to Nerdist.
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The Mandalorian’s force-wielding companion rounds out the four-person crew aboard SpaceX’s dragon capsule as they make their way to the International Space Station (ISS). According to Nerdist, Baby Yoda joins Crew Dragon’s Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Commander Mike Hopkin, from NASA, and Soichi Noguchi from Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) where he executes a very important job.
As a zero-gravity indicator, Baby Yoda’s plush doll “determines when the spacecraft has reached a microgravity environment” (Nerdist). Though this mission makes history as the first taxi flight for NASA conducted by a private company, it’s not the first time SpaceX has employed an adorable zero-G indicator. According to Mashable, “on SpaceX’s first manned spaceflight in May, the crew brought a plush dinosaur along for the ride.”
“Baby [Yoda] on Board!”
A Baby Yoda doll was spotted aboard the Crew Dragon as it launched four astronauts to the International Space Station over the weekend. pic.twitter.com/71zPw7d9nv
— IGN (@IGN) November 17, 2020
The Crew Dragon’s livestream on Sunday gave space exploration enthusiasts a glimpse into the historic mission and Baby Yoda’s role, hard at work as a zero-G indicator. “We’ve got Baby Yoda on board trying to take a seat right now,” NASA’s communications specialist Leah Cheshier commented as the toy appeared to steal Glover’s seat while floating around the capsule, via USA Today. Though the crew will have less use for a zero-G indicator upon their arrival at the International Space Station on Monday night, Mashable posits that “at the very least [Baby Yoda will] help keep morale up.”
Though Baby Yoda comes from the Star Wars universe, a Star Trek legend was one of the first to congratulate The Child on his journey to space. George Takei (Star Trek: The Original Series, Heroes) who played Hikaru Sulu, an original member of the U.S.S Enterprise, congratulated the Crew Dragon on Twitter Monday. Though the actor threw in a shoutout to crew member Baby Yoda, he couldn’t resist including the emoji of the Vulcan salute from Star Trek as well.
Another historic space flight achievement, bravo! 🖖🏼 And with Baby Yoda on board to boot! pic.twitter.com/MdtaLlDzHY
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) November 17, 2020
Assisting the Crew Dragon on their journey to the ISS is far from Baby Yoda’s first off-screen job this year, he could be seen aiding firefighters in the Western United States throughout the fall as they fought against raging forest fires. However, Baby Yoda’s most important job to fans is still the one he completes on-screen as The Mandalorian’s powerful ward and companion in the show’s current second season, streaming Fridays on Disney+.