Rumors that Elon Musk was spotted spinning a ‘Barbie’ around Los Angeles and San Francisco sounded mean and mean until recent news made the picture clearer, like the weather that they had to put glasses on a myopic Hubble Space Telescope.
Wednesday (July 20) – 53 years to the day after Apollo 11 landed on the surface of the Moon – Mattel announced it had struck a deal with SpaceX to produce a line of space-inspired toys, taking toys where many toys have gone before, but not quite like this.
Establishing high orbit from liftoff, Mattel Senior Vice President of Entertainment Partnerships Nick Karamanos said, “We pride ourselves on our ability to create products and experiences that honor cultural moments and inspire humanity. . As space exploration moves faster than ever, we’re excited to work with SpaceX and help create limitless play patterns for every child’s space explorer.
No stranger to merchandising – the SpaceX store is full of backpacks, caps, Martian coffee mugs and our favourite, the unisex Starship sweater – SpaceX Vice President Brian Bjelde said: “At SpaceX, we believe that a future in which humanity is among the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one in which we are not. We look forward to working with Mattel to help inspire the next generation of space explorers and enthusiasts.
The new SpaceX toy line is produced by Mattel’s Matchbox brand, which makes sense given its experience with toys for budding pilots and astronauts, including the Hot Wheels® Mario Kart™ glider assortment and spaceship. Disney Pixar Lightyear Hot Wheels R/C spaceship, which is right in SpaceX’s sweet spot.
Have you seen this Hot Wheels R/C spaceship? Makes the SpaceX Dragon look like your grandfather’s Oldsmobile. Plus, he has a Buzz Lightyear action figure. Where do we sign?
In fact, there was no news of Barbie in SpaceX-Mattel’s announcement, but she’s been to space several times before. Real space. The real thing. And quite recently too.
As Mashable reported, “Two Barbies blasted off on a Northrop Grumman Cygnus spaceflight from Wallops Island, Va., on February 19. Now they are residents of the International Space Station, marking the first time in the world. Barbie story that the doll literally traveled to outer space.
“Literally” being the key word here. Barbie first donned a spacesuit in 1965, and there’s been a steady stream of “Astronaut Barbie” updates ever since. A quick web search finds that everyone from Amazon to Target to Walmart has no supply chain issues with the Space Barbies.
Meanwhile, Mattel Creations, a “collectible platform that provides a canvas for the most innovative designers of today and tomorrow,” had the good sense to create a collectible Barbie Samantha Cristoforetti doll the year last. The real Samantha Cristoforetti is a member of the European Space Agency and has many space miles under her belt.
We love that Mattel immortalized Samantha Cristoforetti, but for our money the real treat is the Barbie Space Discovery Space Station Playset, which comes with (not really) NASA-approved accessories including Space Explorer Barbie (obviously), a station of work with all sorts of scientific equipment as well as – wait for it – his puppy and a puppy bed. Because no self-respecting Barbie goes to space without her Pomeranian.
The set also contains “astronaut food” – but we’re not making any assumptions.