With the Barbie movie being released this week, we decided that now is the perfect time to look back at a Barbie project of our own. To celebrate Barbie's 60th anniversary, we worked alongside Mattel Canada to send Astronaut Barbie into space for real.
With an expansive list of careers under her belt, Barbie is known for championing women's equality and reminding girls that they can grow up to be whatever they want. One of her most iconic careers is arguably as an astronaut, with multiple variations of the Astronaut Barbie since the doll's launch in 1959.
About Astronaut Barbie
Barbie first became an astronaut with the release of the Miss Astronaut outfit in 1965. While the first woman went to space in 1963, NASA did not allow women to join their astronaut corps until 1978, and as such, Barbie started her astronaut career at a time when it was generally not possible for women to do so.
This is a prime example of Barbie's position as a champion for women's equality: she is equal parts hyper-feminine and a successful businesswoman, demonstrating that a successful career is not a masculine trait. With over 250 careers under her belt, Barbie definitely qualifies as a certified girlboss.
Since the initial clothing pack in 1965, there have been several more astronaut-related Barbie releases, whether new dolls, outfit sets, or the 2010 re-release of the original Astronaut Barbie. The most recent Astronaut Barbie was released in 2021 — the Barbies themselves may look different, but clearly, Barbie's astronaut career is as popular as ever.
Barbie in STEM
STEM fields are massively male dominated, with just 28% of engineering graduates and less than 30% of scientific researchers being women. Beginning with the Astronaut Barbie set in 1965, Barbie has continued to take on more and more careers in STEM, from microbiologist to surgeon to engineer.
Mattel has certainly moved their dolls towards STEM fields in recent years, celebrating International Women's Day 2023 by creating one-of-a-kind dolls of seven women who have paved the way for girls and women in business and STEM. Multiple CEOs, a university professor, scientists and researchers are among the women honoured with the dolls of their likenesses.
The Barbie movie
The long-awaited Barbie movie is coming out this Friday, the 21st of July, and we can't wait to see it. We're yet to see if the film will have a dedicated Astronaut Barbie, but it certainly seems to pay homage to the original. The trailer shows Barbie atop a rocket with Ken trailing behind, both clad in suits almost identical to the 1965 Miss Astronaut outfit, complete with brown zip-up boots and the recognisable buckle fastened across the chest.
This snippet is a fun reference to the original Astronaut Barbie, and we hope there will be a few more in the film.
Launching Astronaut Barbie into space
At Sent Into Space, we were excited to have the chance to be a part of a project with Mattel Canada, to champion women in STEM — and of course, to celebrate Barbie's 60th anniversary! To acknowledge Barbie's influence and status as an inspiration for many, we completed the project at a non-profit-run STEM camp attended by over 100 young girls.
We delivered a tailored version of our award-winning Classtronauts programme to the girls at Toronto's STEM Camp before launching Astronaut Barbie into space for real. The launch went great — but we hope the results speak for themselves. You can see the footage of Astronaut Barbie in space below.
It was great to be a part of this project, and we can't wait to see what's next for Barbie! If you're interested in a space launch of your own, please get in touch with the Sent Into Space team to discuss your idea further.