A Barbie that spent six months orbiting the Earth on the International Space Station will be publicly exhibited for the first time this week at the Design Museum in London. This display is part of a new exhibition celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Barbie brand, in collaboration with Mattel, the doll's creator. The Barbie is modeled after Samantha Cristoforetti, the first female commander of the ISS. During her mission with her Barbie counterpart, Cristoforetti also became the first European woman to perform a spacewalk. The exhibition will feature videos of Cristoforetti answering questions from space, aiming to inspire young girls to pursue careers in science and space exploration, all while floating in zero gravity alongside the Barbie.

Curator Danielle Thom expressed excitement, stating, "We're thrilled that the first public viewing of Samantha's doll since its return from the International Space Station will be at the Design Museum this summer." Thom added, "Its journey on Samantha's groundbreaking mission 400 kilometers above Earth was a pivotal moment in Barbie's history." Cristoforetti herself is delighted, noting that her Barbie will have a "starring role" in the exhibition. The display will also include a rare edition of the first space-themed Barbie, the silver "Miss Astronaut" from 1965, and a metallic pink spacesuit Barbie released in 1985 after Sally Ride's historic spaceflight. Other rare dolls on show will include a prototype of the first Talking Barbie from 1968 and one of the earliest first edition Barbie dolls. Iconic figurines such as the Sunset Malibu Barbie and Day to Night Barbie will also be featured. The exhibition will trace the evolution of Barbie's design over time and include her friends, such as Midge, and a dedicated section for Ken, Barbie's male companion. Since the release of the Barbie movie starring Margot Robbie, which broke box office records, the doll has increasingly influenced popular culture, extending its reach into fashion, music, and now design.