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Meet Luciana, an American Girl doll with a passion for space, at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center launch party

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The U.S. Space & Rocket Center proudly announces its partnership with American Girl for the 2018 Girl of the Year™, Luciana Vega™. Luciana's story of an 11-year-old girl with a passion for space and the desire to be the first person on Mars is told in a chapter book series by author Erin Teagan. The first book in the series 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, from her Space Camp flight suit to a Mars Habitat, launch on January 1. A selection of Luciana items, including the Luciana doll, books and her own Space Camp graduation certificate, will be for sale in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center gift shop beginning January 2.

To ensure the accuracy of Luciana's story, American Girl formed a four-member Advisory Panel that includes the Rocket Center's CEO and Executive Director, Dr. Deborah Barnhart, as well as Dr. Ellen Stofan, former NASA Chief Scientist, Dr. Megan McArthur Behnken, NASA Astronaut, and Maureen O`Brien, Manager of Strategic Alliances at NASA. Over the course of many months, a team of American Girl editors and product designers visited Space Camp and NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston to gain insight into a day in 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.

On Feb. 4, the Rocket Center is hosting a Luciana launch party that will include special activities and guests. The launch party will be held from, 2-5 in the Davidson Center. Visit rocketcenter.com for details!