As Barbie-mania sweeps the nation and people cool down in theaters to see the movie, two Barbies that flew to the International Space Station are on display at the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly.
The dolls, released in 2021 by Mattel for its Space Discovery line, are wearing white spacesuits that have blue and pink detailing, white boots, and white gloves. You can see them on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the museum.
They spent several months in space in 2022, Margaret Weitekamp, who chairs the Smithsonian museum’s space history department, said in an Instagram video.
“Just like any astronaut has to train and get ready for a spaceflight, so did Barbie, which means that the gloves are attached to the Barbie doll and the boots are attached,” she said.
The dolls’ hair had to be styled so that it would not fly away in the International Space Station’s microgravity atmosphere.
The Barbies were part of Mattel’s “You Can be Anything” series to encourage girls to think about science and technology careers. They also starred in a YouTube video about the space station.
In response to the Instagram post, space engineer Susie Martínez wrote, “I was on console as an Operation Controller for the ISS when these Barbies were being photographed on the ISS! One of the coolest things I have gotten to support.”
They are not the only Barbie dolls at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Three others in space outfits also are there.
Alison Wood, deputy director of communications for the National Air and Space Museum, said the reaction to Barbie has been positive.
“People have enjoyed learning the history of Barbie in space, and they’ve expressed nostalgia of their memories of the astronaut Barbies that they owned as kids,” she says.
The Barbies will be on display for the foreseeable future, Wood says.
To see them, you will need timed passes the National Air and Science Museum’s annex, which is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day except Christmas. The museum is free, but parking is $15. 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy., Chantilly
Feature photo courtesy of Barbies courtesy Smithsonian/Mark Avino
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