STAR CITY, September 6 (RIA Novosti) – A toy black cat will be the new good-luck charm for the next crew on board the International Space Station (ISS), a cosmonaut said on Friday.
There’s a tradition amongst Russian cosmonauts to take a small toy with them to hang inside the “Soyuz” capsule on trips to outer space.
In flight, the toy indicates the start of weightlessness after leaving the Earth’s atmosphere.
This particular toy cat is already an experienced mascot, having been in orbit twice before, cosmonaut Oleg Kotov told journalists at a press conference.
“Our talisman will be a veteran of two space flights, and it’s going to fly with me a third time,” Kotov said. “It's [the cat’s] called Dimler, from the first syllables of the names of my children Dima and Lera, who gave it to me before my first flight.”
Cosmonaut Sergei Ryazansky – who told journalists he’s taking family photos with him – and American NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins – who’s bringing his and his wife’s wedding rings – will accompany Kotov into space.
Kotov is the most experienced crew member, having already completed two missions to the ISS. This will be Ryazansky and Hopkins' first trip.
The three will be sent to the ISS on September 26 aboard a Soyuz rocket launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They will replace the previous ISS crew, who have been in space since March and are scheduled to return on September 11.