- NASA astronaut Anne McClain launched to the International Space Station on Monday and arrived at at 12:33 p.m. EST.
- Before rocketing into orbit, McClain brought her son along to a NASA portrait session.
- Her son hammed it up for the camera, leading to some adorable official photos of McClain.
- The astronaut tweeted the photos in March in support of moms who struggle to find a work-life balance.
Before NASA's talented astronauts launch into space, they pose for an official photo shoot.
Most astronauts play it safe: They crawl inside a custom-fit spacesuit, smile for the camera, then get back to their rigorous training. Some, however, choose to bring family, friends, and even pets along for the fun.
During a portrait session by NASA in August 2017, Anne C. McClain — a member of the 21st astronaut class, a decorated US Army Major, an attack helicopter pilot, an aerospace engineer, and a mother — brought her preschool-age son.
"The hardest part about training for space is the 4 yr old I have to leave behind every time I walk out the door," McClain tweeted in March 2018.
McClain arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday at 12:33 p.m. EST aboard a Russian spacecraft called Soyuz. But at the time of her tweet, McClain was responding to Abby Wambach, a professional soccer player and fellow mom who was seeking support in maintaining a work-life balance.
"I try to remember he will grow up and know what it looks like, behind the scenes, to pursue a dream. He is my 'why,'" McClain said.
The successful mission that McClain just participated in was vital in restoring access to the space station, since NASA has no spaceship and the previous Soyuz mission in October failed in mid-flight. (An automatic emergency escape system carried the crew to safety.)
McClain will now stay on the ISS until June 2019.
In her Twitter thread, McClain posted photos of herself in a spacesuit next to her young son. A representative at NASA's Johnson Space Center told Business Insider that the pictures were taken by photographer Bill Stafford.
Here are the heartwarming images McClain shared, and what her son thinks it's like to have a mom who's an astronaut.
This story has been updated. It was originally published on March 13, 2018.
"[S]ometimes, I bring him to work with me. Not sure who enjoys it more!" McClain said in March when she shared this image.
When a Twitter user asked McClain what's more difficult — staying or going — she responded: "No easy answer there."
"One provides immediate comfort, the other achieves not only lifelong goals but also teaches lifelong lessons. Gotta play the long game here," she said. "But it doesn’t make missing out on waffles with the kiddo in the morning any easier. Most parents can relate."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider