Swapping costumes for takeoff, Barbie flies on the space station for the first time

After almost 60 years of dressing up as an astronaut, Barbie has taken to space for real.

Two of the iconic fashion dolls are now aboard the International Space Station (ISS), where they are part of “Mission DreamStar”, an outreach project to inspire girls to consider careers in aerospace and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. As Mattel revealed on Thursday (April 14), the dolls have been in Earth orbit since February as part of a collaboration between the toy company and the US National Laboratory on the ISS.

“Barbie has a long history with space exploration, having introduced an astronaut doll in 1965 before humans even set foot on the moon, so the idea of ​​Barbie going to space has been a priority for a while. moment !” Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie and dolls at Mattel, said in an interview with collectSPACE.com. “With the launch of our Space Discovery line at Target, this year provided the perfect opportunity to create that defining moment and finally send Barbie into space and the ISS.”

In picture : Barbie and space exploration: the iconic doll’s astronaut looks (photos)

As featured in a recently released special episode of the brand’s “You Can Be Anything” web video series, the two different Barbie dolls were filmed floating inside the space station’s multi-window cupola, with in backdrop the Earth below. They also accompanied NASA astronaut Kayla Barron, a member of the station’s Expedition 67 crew, as she explained some of the research being conducted at the orbiting lab, including the Veggie Plant Growth Facility and the Astrobee floating robots.

“Every day we do interesting scientific and technical research here,” Barron said in the video, which also features NASA astronaut Raja Chari.

“Have you ever dreamed of what it would be like to go into space? I know you have!” says an animated version of Barbie in the episode.

The pair of dolls sent to space are inspired by the astronauts and cosmonauts who live on the station. Each is dressed in the same one-piece outfit inspired by the Sokol pressure garments worn by crew members who launch and land on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.

“Barbie’s spacesuit, helmet and sparkly gloves incorporate nods to actual spacesuits seen on the ISS, complete with iconic pink accents,” McKnight said. “We’re thrilled that kids can play with Space Discovery dolls, just like those in orbit, to make their doll play even more imaginative.”

Illustrated timeline showing the progression of Barbie's astronaut and space-related outfits over the years, from 1965 to 2022.

Illustrated timeline showing the progression of Barbie’s astronaut and space-related outfits over the years, from 1965 to 2022. (Image credit: Mattel)

Over the past 57 years, Barbie’s spacewear has ranged from fashionable to miniature replicas of the real thing. The first astronaut outfit, “Barbie Miss Astronaut”, released in 1965, was inspired by the silver jumpsuits worn by Mercury astronauts. Twenty years later, Barbie modeled a hot pink and silver spacesuit “with a skirt and sparkly tights.”

Since 2019, Mattel has been paying homage to real astronauts with Barbie dolls in their likeness. Part of the brand’s Inspiring Women series, Barbie dolls were modeled after America’s first woman in space Sally Ride and Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina.

Another Barbie resembling European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is set to launch to the space station with her real-life counterpart later this month.

“While separated from Mission DreamStar, we look forward to Samantha’s flight and continue to celebrate STEM,” McKnight told collectSPACE. “Samantha Cristoforetti’s doll continues to fuel Barbie’s story with space and the brand’s commitment to encouraging girls to become the next generation of astronauts, engineers and space scientists. “

The two Mattel Mission DreamStar Barbie dolls are pictured in front of the International Space Station's Veggie Plant Growth Facility.

The two Mattel Mission DreamStar Barbie dolls are pictured in front of the International Space Station’s Veggie Plant Growth Facility. (Image credit: Mattel)

The Barbie dolls currently in space are expected to return to Earth this summer, when they will be sent to the Smithsonian for display at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in northern Virginia.

The Space Discovery line, now on sale exclusively at Target, includes Barbie dolls identical to those launched at the station, as well as Barbie Friends dolls dressed in space outfits and associated playsets.

“Barbie’s goal has always been to remind girls that they can be anything. By providing a glimpse of the ISS through real astronauts, Barbie is proud to encourage children to consider careers in space. aerospace and STEM,” McKnight said.

Click on collectSPACE.com for more photos of Barbie dolls aboard the International Space Station.

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