COMPANY / Europe’s first female ESA commander flies into space with her Barbie to inspire girls
The European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut answers questions about space asked by girls from all over Europe and chosen by the Inspiring Girls Foundation, including those of Ines Montoya, 9, from Madrid
Samantha Cristoforetti’s Minerva Mission allows Barbie to further its collaboration with ESA on their joint mission to inspire girls to become the next generation of astronauts, engineers and scientists
The ESA astronaut and her Barbie doll took off on Crew Dragon en route to the International Space Station (ISS) in April 2022 and are scheduled to return to Earth shortly after the mission ends
In celebration of World Space Week and ahead of the International Day of the Girl, a shocking video was released today of Samantha and her doll in zero gravity answering questions from girls who participated in an Inspiring Girls International modeling program
European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut and the first European female commander of the International Space Station (ISS), Samantha Cristoforetti, took her Barbie doll aboard the ISS as part of Barbie and ESA’s joint mission to inspire girls to consider careers in science , technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
When the Italian astronaut left for the ISS in April with her international teammates, she didn’t hesitate to take her Samantha Barbie doll with her and blast off from Earth on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. Despite the intense mission of science experiments and maintenance that made her the first female ESA astronaut to perform a ‘space walk’ (or EVA) – as well as Europe’s first female ISS commander – Samantha took time to answer the girls’ questions about space , always accompanied by her Barbie doll.
Josef Aschbacher, Director General of ESA, emphasized that: “ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti has a wonderful mission that generates benefits for science, engineering and education. It also helps develop our future missions throughout the system. As with all our ESA astronauts, I am very proud of their achievements and when they show that women and men play an equal role in space exploration, it is another positive aspect of the ESA Minerva mission.”
Five girls from across Europe were chosen to ask their questions to the famous multilingual astronaut through Inspiring Girls, an international charity founded by Spanish Miriam González Durántez, which connects girls with various female role models and which is a partner in the Barbie Dream Gap project. The chosen questions were written by girls from the UK, France, Spain, Switzerland and Samantha’s native Italy taking part in space-themed workshops jointly organized by Barbie and Inspiring Girls. In Spain, 9-year-old Ines Montoya, originally from Madrid, asked Samantha why she wanted to be an astronaut, what she likes to do most when she is in space, what experiments she has done and what she eats when she is on the space station.
Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, founder of Inspiring Girls, states, “At Inspiring Girls International, we connect girls with real role models to show them all the possibilities they have in life and inspire them to reach their full potential. We are proud and excited to give “We are giving our girls this fantastic opportunity to ask Samantha Cristoforetti questions directly about her role on the International Space Station. This inspiring collaboration will help girls discover new opportunities, consider careers in STEM and raise their aspirations.”
Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie, commented, “Reminding girls that they can be anything they want is the goal of everything we do at Barbie, including our dedication to helping bridge the dream gap. By partnering with Samantha Cristoforetti, Role Model, ESA, and Inspiring Girls, we are able to speak directly to girls and spark their interest in pursuing STEM careers when they grow up, all in hopes of leveling the playing field for girls everywhere in the world”.
Aviator, engineer and astronaut Samantha will soon begin her descent to Earth as the Minerva mission nears its end. Once she returns, the Samantha Cristoforetti Barbie doll that accompanied her on her mission will be on display at ESA headquarters.
The Samantha Cristoforetti Barbie doll was developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) to encourage children’s interest in space science. ESA is not involved in the production and marketing of this product. Neither ESA nor the astronaut receives royalties from the sale of this product.
Samantha’s trip to space with her doll marks the second time Barbie dolls have been on the ISS. In March 2022, in collaboration with the ISS National Laboratory on the DreamStar mission, Mattel sent two Barbie dolls into space. The dolls were given a tour of the ISS, which includes the Dome, the ISS Observation Module, the Vegetable Garden, and the Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer (Melfi), along with an introduction to the ISS’s free-flying robots. Astrobeis.
The first Astronaut Barbie doll appeared in 1965. Barbie was an astrophysicist, space scientist and astronaut, creating dolls in the image and likeness of real models, including astronauts Sally Ride of the United States, Anna Kikina of Russia, and Samantha Cristoforetti of the ESA.