SpaceX made a deal with Mattel to create rocket- and astronaut-themed toys. One line of toys will cater to children through the Matchbox brand and another will cater to collectors through the higher-end “Mattel Creations” platform.
Mattel is best known for long-popular toy brands like Barbie and Hot Wheels. It also produces Fisher-Price, American Girl, and Thomas & Friends toys.
Although Mattel isn’t particularly well-known for creating purely space-themed brands, it has created selections like “Barbie Miss Astronaut,” a 1960s tie-in with NASA’s Mercury Program. The Mercury Program launched six of NASA’s first astronauts into space in the early 1960s.
“As space exploration advances more quickly than ever before, we are thrilled to work with SpaceX and help spark limitless play patterns for the space explorer in every kid,” said Mattel Entertainment Partnerships SVP Nick Karamanos.
SpaceX’s rocket models include Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and the upcoming Starship/Super Heavy stack. Contracts for launch services with its operational rockets include launching crew and cargo to the International Space Station, as well as launching hardware for scientific endeavors like searching for dark matter and exploring Jupiter’s moon, Europa. SpaceX is also a contractor or subcontractor for operations like launching components of the Lunar Gateway into lunar orbit and sending uncrewed lunar landers to the Moon.
It is currently working on getting approval from the FAA for an orbital test of Starship – something that has been repeatedly delayed due to concerns about environmental impact and the sheer number of comments that the FAA received during its public comment period. Most of the comments were strongly in favor of the orbital test.
CEO Elon Musk indicated that he might move Starship-related testing operations from Boca Chica, Texas, to Cape Canaveral in Florida, likely due to frustrations caused by the regulatory delays. SpaceX expects that Starship will be able to do anything from deliver cargo and people to Mars to rapidly deliver humanitarian and military supplies around the world.
SpaceX has had its hand in designing model rockets based on its lineup of rockets and spacecraft before. However, this is the first time it has made a deal with a major toy manufacturer for a toy lineup.
Mattel’s new astronaut toys might include figurines of astronauts who have flown on the Crew Dragon, including Demo-2’s Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who flew on the final test flight of the Crew Dragon in 2020. (Mattel has not said whether it plans to do a tie-in with the animated show called “Bob and Doug,” though.) If it wants to include private astronauts like Inspiration4 organizer and commander Jared Isaacman, it may have to work out a separate deal with them due to intellectual property-related concerns.
The new SpaceX-themed toys are expected to drop in 2023.