— SpaceX rockets and spacecraft will soon come with a new label: Made by Mattel.
The global toy company has entered into a multi-year deal with Elon Musk’s commercial spaceflight company to create and market toys inspired by SpaceX’s launch vehicles. The first products under the partnership will launch in 2023 as part of Mattel’s Matchbox line of die-cast cars, as well as through Mattel’s collaboration and direct-to-consumer platform, Mattel Creations. .
The collaboration is SpaceX’s first-ever deal with a global toy company.
“At SpaceX, we believe that a future in which humanity is among the stars is fundamentally more exciting than a future in which we are not,” SpaceX vice president Brian Bjelde said in a statement. . “We look forward to working with Mattel to help inspire the next generation of space explorers and enthusiasts.”
The announcement was made on International Moon Day, the 53rd anniversary of the first Apollo 11 moon landing. Among the vehicles SpaceX is currently developing is a version of its Starship spacecraft to be used as a lander in the part of NASA’s Artemis program and upcoming missions to the lunar surface.
The news also fell on the eve of Comic Con in San Diego, where Mattel is among the exhibitors.
“We pride ourselves on our ability to create products and experiences that honor cultural moments and inspire humanity,” said Nick Karamanos, SVP Entertainment Partnerships at Mattel. “As space exploration moves faster than ever, we’re thrilled to work with SpaceX and help create limitless play patterns for the space explorer in every child.”
No details have been released on specific SpaceX sets coming next year, other than the line from Mattel Creations that would include “raised collectibles.”
While this is a first for SpaceX – the company previously only allowed a model store to create desktop versions of some of its vehicles – it’s not Mattel’s first entry. in the world of space travel and exploration, or even SpaceX missions.
Earlier this year, the toy company collaborated with the International Space Station’s National Laboratory to send two Barbie dolls to the orbiting outpost to encourage girls to consider careers in aerospace and engineering. engineering. Mattel has also created Barbie dolls inspired by real-life astronauts and cosmonauts Sally Ride, Samantha Cristoforetti and Anna Kikina, as well as NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson.
Under its Hot Wheels brand, Mattel worked with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to produce miniatures of NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance rovers. The company also celebrated the launch of a Tesla Roadstar on the maiden flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket by releasing Hot Wheels toy versions of Musk’s faraway electric sports car.
Matchbox also sold space-related vehicles, dating back decades. In recent years, the brand’s toy cars have included NASA’s Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV) and, as part of its Sky Busters line of aircraft, a die-cast version of Sierra Soace’s Dream Chaser toy space plane. .
At San Diego Comic-Con, which kicks off Thursday, July 21, Mattel is reintroducing Major Matt Mason, an astronaut action figure from the late 1960s. The refreshed astronaut is part of the “Back in Action” collectible set from Mattel Creations.