Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cosmonaut's Snowman Mascot will act as Zero-G Doll Detector

A small plush doll of Disney's "Frozen" snowman Olaf will signal the Soyuz TMA-15M crew when they have reached space after launching on Nov. 23, 2014. 

Credit: NASA/RSC Energia

When Shkaplerov and his crewmates, NASA astronaut Terry Virts and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, lift off for the International Space Station on Sunday afternoon (Nov. 23), they will have with them a small plush doll of the Disney animated character "Olaf."

"It is going to be the snowman from 'Frozen,'" Shkaplerov told reporters at a pre-flight press conference in Star City, Russia.

"My youngest daughter is eight years old and she selected that as a talisman."

More than just a charm or mascot, the doll, suspended from a cord in the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft, will serve as the flight's zero-g indicator.

When the crew enters Earth orbit, Olaf will (to borrow another "Frozen" song line) "let it go" and float, signaling Shkaplerov, Virts, and Cristoforetti that they are in space.

"This guy will be flying with me, [Anton and Samantha]," Virts wrote on Twitter, sharing a photo of the small stuffed snowman.

The three crewmembers and their carrot nosed companion are scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sunday at 4:01 p.m. EST (2101 GMT or 3:01 a.m. local Kazakh time, Nov. 24).

Six hours and four orbits of the Earth later, they are expected to arrive at the station, where Shkaplerov, Virts, and Cristoforetti will join the outpost's Expedition 42 crew before taking the lead for Expedition 43.

Olaf, and his TMA-15M crewmates, will return to Earth in mid-May 2015.

No comments:

Post a Comment