Astronaut Anne McClain brought her 4-year-old son to a NASA photo shoot before flying to space, and the pictures will melt your heart

NASA astronaut Anne McClain.

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NASA astronaut Anne McClain.
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NASA

  • NASA astronaut Anne McClain launched to the International Space Station on December 3, 2018.
  • Before rocketing into orbit, McClain brought her son along to a NASA portrait session. He hammed it up for the camera, leading to some adorable photos.
  • The astronaut tweeted the pictures in March 2018 in support of moms who struggle to find a work-life balance.
  • McClain is now poised to perform the first all-female spacewalk with fellow astronaut Christina Hammock Koch on March 29.

Before NASA’s talented astronauts launch into space, they pose for an official photo shoot.

Most future space flyers play it safe: They crawl inside a custom-fit spacesuit, smile for the camera, then get back to their rigorous training. A few, however, 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 December 3, 2018 at 12:33 p.m. ET. She is now poised to lead the first all-female spacewalk: On March 29, McClain is set to step outside the ISS for some battery replacement work with fellow astronaut Christina Hammock Koch, who rocketed into space on March 14.

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 told Wambach.

In her Twitter thread last year, McClain posted photos of herself in a spacesuit next to her young son.The pictures were taken by photographer Bill Stafford, according to a representative at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Here are the heartwarming images McClain shared, and what her son thinks of having a mom who’s an astronaut.

This story has been updated with new information. It was originally published on March 13, 2018.


“Sometimes, I bring him to work with me. Not sure who enjoys it more!” McClain said in March when she shared this image of her son, Briggs Worden.

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Bill Stafford/NASA

Source: Twitter


When a Twitter user asked McClain what’s more difficult — staying or going — she responded: “No easy answer there.”

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Bill Stafford/NASA

Source: Twitter


“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.”

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Bill Stafford/NASA

Source: Twitter


McClain told a BART-train-driving Twitter user that her son “would trade me for a train driver without a second thought.”

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Bill Stafford/NASA

Source: Twitter


“He thinks it’s pretty normal” to be an astronaut, she said. “His teacher asked their class what their parents did, and he told her I am an engineer. I asked if he told her anything else. He responded, ‘Mama, NONE of my friends have ever met an engineer….'”

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Bill Stafford/NASA

Source: Twitter


McClain isn’t the only astronaut to get adventurous with her NASA photo shoots. Former astronaut Leland Melvin, who used to fly aboard the space shuttle, brought his rescue dogs Jake and Scout.

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NASA

Source: Gizmodo


NASA’s portraits didn’t show the real Sokol flight suit that McClain wore when she launched to the ISS aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

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Anne McClain/NASA

McClain tweeted this photo of the suit in March, saying: “[O]ne day you come to work and see this, and you realize it is not a costume. It is real. Not for training. An actual space suit – and it’s going to actual space. And it has your name on it. ????”


“[Y]ou have to try out said suit for nearly two hours while pressurized to make sure nothing hurts,” McClain said on Twitter. “Well, that nothing hurts too badly. Mission accomplished. My first act in my new real spacesuit was to sit and watch a movie! Oh and play with my gloves.”

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Anne McClain
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NASA

Source: Twitter


McClain rocketed to the space station in December with her Expedition 58 crewmates: cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and astronaut David Saint-Jacques.

They flew to the ISS on a Russian spacecraft called Soyuz. The successful mission vital in restoring access to the space station, since NASA has no spaceships of its own and the previous Soyuz mission in October failed in mid-flight. (An automatic emergency escape system carried the crew to safety.)


After about six hours of flight, the crew safely docked with the space station. McClain is due back on Earth in June.

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The Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft carrying the Expedition 58 crew just before it docked with the International Space Station on December 3, 2018.
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NASA TV

Before she returns, though, McClain and Christina Hammock Koch will perform the first all-female spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

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McClain (left) and Koch (right).
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NASA; Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

NASA planned the roughly 6.5-hour battery-replacing exercise for March 29, and it will follow another spacewalk by McClain on March 22.