As the first American woman to fly into space, Sally Ride became one of the largest figures in space exploration history. Now, Ride is being honored with a Little People figure in her likeness.
The 2.5-inch-tall (6.9 cm) Sally Ride toy is part of Fisher-Price's new Little People Collector "Inspiring Women" set, which also includes figures modeled after poet Maya Angelou, aviator Amelia Earhart and civil rights activist Rosa Parks. The $20 set will go on sale at Target stores beginning on Sunday (Oct. 3).
"The Little People Collector Inspiring Women figure set from Fisher-Price celebrates four American women who changed the world through their strength, courage, intelligence and determination," the educational toy company wrote on its website. "This must-have figure set features each pioneering woman brought down to Little People toy size and comes in a specially designed, gift-ready box that will look great on any collector's shelf."
Ride, who like the other three women in the set is being honored posthumously, died in 2012 at the age of 61. Her Little People figure is styled after how she looked in 1983, when she lifted off aboard the space shuttle Challenger on the first of her two spaceflights as a NASA astronaut.
The toy Ride is depicted in her light blue flight suit with NASA and STS-7 mission patches. She holds the helmet she wore for launch in one hand.
"Astronaut Sally Ride was the first American woman in space, as well as a professor of physics at the University of California at San Diego and founder of a nonprofit organization promoting STEM literacy for children," Fisher-Price wrote, referencing Sally Ride Science, which continues to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities for young women.
Although Ride is the only figure in the Inspiring Women set directly honored for making history in the field of space exploration, the three other women depicted have connections to NASA. Parks was memorialized with the naming of an asteroid discovered by the agency's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) in 2010. A poem written by Angelou and artifacts that were used by Earhart were flown on NASA and U.S. commercial spaceflights.
The Little People Collector Inspiring Women figure set comes out just in time for the annual celebration of World Space Week, which this year begins on Monday (Oct. 4), the 64th anniversary of the launch fo the world's first satellite Sputnik. The theme of the 2021 World Space Week is "Women in Space."
The Little People figure is not the first time Sally Ride has been depicted in toy form. In 2019, another Mattel-owned line similarly honored Ride as an "Inspiring Women" with a Barbie doll in her likeness. Ride was also the inspiration for a minifigure as part of the LEGO Ideas "Women of NASA" set released in 2017.
Fisher-Price Little Figures were first introduced in 1950 and since then more than two billion have been sold. Although there have been Little People toys dressed as astronauts before, the Sally Ride figure is the first to honor a specific space explorer. The Collector line expands the toys to include celebrities, musicians and characters from television and film.