Irish doll 'Stargazer Lottie' becomes first doll in space

Irish doll 'Stargazer Lottie' becomes first doll in space

A DOLL manufacturing company in Donegal has sent the first ever doll into space.

Lottie the doll blasted off on board the Cygnus spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, on December 6, 2015, reaching the space station last week.

The 19cm figurine is the first doll in the world to be sent to space.

Lottie's space journey comes ahead of today's departure of British astronaut Tim Peake, who will be the first Briton to visit the International Space Station.

Commander Peake is part of a six-month mission in a Soyuz rocket with Russian commander Yuri Malenchenko and American flight engineer Timothy Kopra.

Arklu, the company behind the Lottie dolls, contacted the European Space Agency asking if it could take part.

Abigail, a 6-year-old girl from Canada, designed 'Stargazer Lottie' especially for the trip.

Lottie is manufactured by Letterkenny-based Arklu - a company that began at a kitchen table in London before owners Ian Harkin and Lucie Follett moved to Ireland.

Since then, the dolls have won awards around the world for being based on a 9-year-old girl instead of an adult woman - and promoting a positive body image.

Mr Harkin said he and his staff watched Lottie's rocket take off live on Nasa TV.

“There was huge excitement and I felt very proud at having the first doll in space,” he said.

“Hopefully this will encourage more girls to get interested in science projects.”