We have liftoff! Barbie continues to use its platform to encourage kids everywhere to soar to new heights — and this time their plans are out of this world. In a unique partnership with the International Space Station National Lab, Barbie recently traveled to space as part of Mission DreamStar, NASA's collaboration with Barbie that will encourage careers in STEM and remind children, "if you can see it, you can be it."
While Barbie added "astronaut" to her long list of careers in 1965 — four years before man landed on the moon — this marks the first time in the doll's 63-year history that Barbie dolls were launched into orbit aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Two Barbie dolls, whose mission included a tour of the space station and its observation module, the cupola, also experienced zero gravity while in space, evidence of which can be seen in a video provided to Yahoo Life by Barbie.
The dolls also previewed the Veggie Plant Growth System aboard the ISS, as well as the Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer, where researchers store biological and life science samples. The Barbies were also introduced to the station's permanent residents the Astrobees, free-flying robots responsible for completing chores to keep the station in tip top shape between visits.
Following their space mission, the dolls were donated to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. Later this year, they will be displayed at the museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.
Barbie's galactic goal? To encourage girls everywhere to consider a career in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This includes professions like robotics engineers, astrophysicists and space scientists.
"We couldn't be more excited to announce Barbie's first mission to space," executive vice president and global head of Barbie and dolls at Mattel, Lisa McKnight, tells Yahoo Life. "Working with the International Space Station National Lab team, Barbie was not only able to have the adventure of a lifetime, but we are able to give kids a look into the daily lives of astronauts with a fun and educational tour of the ISS through our You Can Be Anything series."
"We hope that Barbie's out-of-this-world adventure helps to inspire the interests of the next generation in aerospace, engineering and STEM," McKnight says of the episode, which will be available on the Barbie YouTube channel starting April 14. The special episode You Can Be Anything Series: Space Edition is intended to inspire space exploration by highlighting available careers within the industry.
This furthers Barbie's dedication to empowering young girls, a mission embodied with the 2018 launch of Barbie Inspiring Women series, a line of dolls that pays tribute to historical and present-day role models. One of their latest dolls honored trailblazing journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells.
In the decades since Barbie first became an astronaut, she has held more than 200 careers. Still, the brand has long-celebrated mankind's space exploration with the creation of dolls honoring the likeness of real-life heroes, including European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and the youngest American and first American woman to fly in space, former NASA astronaut Sally Ride.
Barbie wants to instill in young girls that when it comes to dreaming, there is no final frontier and the sky is not the limit, but only the beginning. The brand's Space Discovery series features a line of out-of-this-world space-inspired dolls and playsets, including a Barbie astronaut doll, Space Discovery Skipper, space teacher playset and more.
The launch of Mission DreamStar and other initiatives support the brand's overall goal of leveling the playing field for girls by making conscious efforts to help close the "Dream Gap," and is part of an ongoing global initiative created by Barbie that offers support and resources to encourage girls to become good leaders and take interest in a wide variety of careers. Based on New York University research indicating girls begin to develop self-limiting beliefs around age 5, the "Dream Gap" hopes to change girls' mindsets about what they can achieve. Since launching in 2018, the program has donated $250,000 each year to charities who work directly with young girls.
The Barbie Space Discovery line is available at Target locations nationwide and featured on the exclusive Barbie page at Target.com.
Video: First private flight to ISS carries 3 men to station
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