— -- A retired NASA astronaut is a viral star thanks to his official NASA photo that shows him posing with two unlikely companions.
Leland Melvin, who retired from NASA last February according to the space agency, is seen in the photo in the traditional orange spacesuit worn by astronauts in their official photos, but instead of posing alone, Melvin is flanked by his two dogs.
The undated photo of Melvin, 50, was tweeted Wednesday by Adam Aton, a newspaper reporter in Missouri.
When another tweeter asked Melvin if the story that he snuck the two dogs into the NASA studio during his photo shoot is true, Melvin replied, “Yes sir!,” followed by a rocket emoji.
Melvin has evidently won praise for his photo before because another person tweeted to him on Jan. 24 that he has “the best astronaut photo.”
Melvin replied to that tweet with another photo, this one showing his two dogs sitting stoically by his side.
Neither Melvin nor NASA responded today to ABC News’ requests for comment.
According to Melvin’s NASA biography, the Virginia native was selected by NASA in 1998 and is a veteran of two space flights, logging over 565 hours in space.
Melvin later went on to travel the country as co-manager of NASA’s Educator Astronaut Program and was named as associate administrator for the Office of Education.