Mattel will launch SpaceX vehicles as new Matchbox toys and collectibles

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. (opens in a new tab). 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.”

Related: Casio G-Shock wristwatch pays homage to NASA astronaut launch and entry suits

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 (opens in a new tab) as 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.”

A Mattel-made Hot Wheels toy model of the Tesla Roadster that SpaceX launched on its first flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket in February 2018. The 1:64 scale die-cast car includes a plastic miniature of the dummy in Starman spacesuit. (Image credit: collectSPACE)

Although this is a first for SpaceX – the company previously only licensed a model store (opens in a new tab) creating desktop versions of some of its vehicles – this isn’t Mattel’s first entry into 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 (opens in a new tab) encourage girls to consider careers in aerospace and engineering. Mattel has also created Barbie dolls modeled after real astronauts and cosmonauts Sally Ride (opens in a new tab)Samantha Cristoforetti (opens in a new tab) and Anna Kikina (opens in a new tab)as well as NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson (opens in a new tab).

Under its Hot Wheels brand, Mattel worked with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to produce miniatures of NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance rovers. (opens in a new tab). The company also celebrated the launch of a Tesla Roadster on the maiden flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket by releasing Hot Wheels toy versions. (opens in a new tab) of Musk’s distant electric sports car.

Matchbox also sold space-related vehicles, dating back decades. In recent years, the brand’s small cars have included NASA’s Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV). (opens in a new tab) and, as part of its Sky Busters line of aircraft, a die-cast version of Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser (opens in a new tab) small 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.

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