SpaceX rockets and spacecraft are about to get a new label: Made by Mattel.
The global toy company has entered into a multi-year deal with Elon Musk’s commercial space firm to create and sell toys inspired by SpaceX launch vehicles. (will open in a new tab). The first products under the partnership will be released in 2023 as part of Mattel’s Matchbox die-cast vehicle line and through Mattel Creations’ co-branded and direct consumer platform.
The collaboration is SpaceX’s first deal with a global toy maker. “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,” said Brian Bielde, Vice President of SpaceX. “We look forward to working with Mattel to inspire the next generation of space explorers and enthusiasts.”
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The announcement was made on International Moon Day, the 53rd anniversary of the first moon landing of the Apollo 11 spacecraft. Among the vehicles that SpaceX is currently developing is a version of the Starship spacecraft for use as a lander. (will open in a new tab) as part of the NASA Artemis program and the following missions to the lunar surface.
The news also broke ahead of San Diego Comic Con, where Mattel is one of the exhibitors.
“We pride ourselves on our ability to create products and experiences that honor cultural moments and inspire humanity,” said Nick Caramanos, senior vice president of entertainment partnerships at Mattel. “As space exploration advances faster than ever before, we’re thrilled to be working with SpaceX and helping create limitless play patterns for space explorers for all kids.”
No details have been released on what specific SpaceX kits are coming next year, other than that Mattel’s Creations line will include “boosted collectibles.”
Although this is a first for SpaceX, the company has previously only licensed a model store. (will open in a new tab) to create desktop versions of some of its vehicles – this isn’t Mattel’s first foray into the world of space travel and exploration, or even SpaceX missions.
Earlier this year, the toy company partnered with the International Space Station’s National Laboratory to send two Barbie dolls to an orbiting outpost. (will open in a new tab) encourage girls to consider a career in aerospace and engineering. Mattel has also created Barbie dolls in the style of real-life astronauts and cosmonauts Sally Ride. (will open in a new tab)Samantha Cristoforetti (will open in a new tab) and Anna Kikina (will open in a new tab)as well as NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson (will open in a new tab).
Under its Hot Wheels brand, Mattel worked with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to create miniatures of NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance rovers. (will open in a new tab). The company also celebrated the launch of the Tesla Roadster on the first flight of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket by releasing toy versions of Hot Wheels. (will open in a new tab) distant electric sports car Mask.
Matchbox also sold space vehicles built decades ago. In recent years, the brand’s toy cars have included NASA’s Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV). (will open in a new tab) and, as part of the Sky Busters line of aircraft, Sierra Space’s cast version of the Dream Chaser. (will open in a new tab) small spaceplane.
At San Diego Comic-Con starting Thursday (July 21), Mattel reintroduces Major Matt Mason, a late 1960s astronaut action figure. The updated astronaut is part of the Mattel Creations “Back in Action” collectible set.
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