US Space & Rocket Center partners on new American Girl doll - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

US Space & Rocket Center partners on new American Girl doll

U.S. Space & Rocket Center's CEO and executive director, Deborah Barnhart, hold the American Girl doll Luciana Vega. (Source: WAFF) U.S. Space & Rocket Center's CEO and executive director, Deborah Barnhart, hold the American Girl doll Luciana Vega. (Source: WAFF)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center has partnered with American Girl for the 2018 Girl of the Year.

The doll known as Luciana Vega is the result. Her story is that of an 11-year-old Hispanic girl who wants to go into space and be the first person on Mars. The first book in the series, written by author Erin Teagan, takes Luciana to Space Camp, where she learns the importance of leadership and teamwork for her journey to Mars.

The 18-inch Luciana doll, her first two books, and a variety of products, including Space Camp gear, launched on Jan. 1. The doll and select ietsm are for sale at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center gift shop.

To ensure the accuracy of Luciana’s story, American Girl formed a four-member advisory panel that included the Rocket Center’s CEO and executive director, Deborah Barnhart, as well as Ellen Stofan, former NASA chief scientist, Megan McArthur Behnken, NASA astronaut, and Maureen O’Brien, NASA's manager of strategic alliances. American Girl editors and product designers also visited Space Camp and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to gain insight into the life of a Space Camp trainee and future astronaut.

American Girl’s partnership with NASA was developed through the Space Act Agreement to inform and inspire the wider public and in particular young girls about the excitement of space and STEM careers.

The Space & Rocket Center will host a Luciana launch party on Feb. 4.

“Luciana is a role model for today’s girls—empowering them to defy stereotypes, and embrace risks that will teach them about failure and success as they chart their own course in life—whatever the goal. For us, it’s all about building girls of strong character, and it’s why we’re continuing to encourage girls to lead change and embrace #charactercounts," said Katy Dickson, president of American Girl.

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