Press Release

Axiom Space, Build-A-Bear Continue Partnership Sending GiGi to Space on Another Mission to Inspire Youth through STEAM Education

HOUSTON, Jan. 8, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Axiom Space and Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE: BBW) have continued their partnership and will send a furry fifth crew member to space, alongside the Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) astronauts in a launch planned no earlier than Jan. 17, from Florida. The teddy bear, named GiGi, will launch to space as the Ax-3 mission's zero-gravity indicator wearing Axiom Space's next-generation spacesuit. GiGi's first mission was Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2) in May, marking the first time Build-A-Bear sent a furry friend to space, and once again, both companies will engage youth through STEAM education and outreach.

GiGi's return to space continues the tradition of having a zero-gravity indicator inside the spacecraft to provide a visual indicator when the spacecraft has reached the weightlessness of microgravity. As the fifth crew member of Ax-3, GiGi's mission is to inspire children around the world to learn about space and consider careers in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM). 

"Our partnership with Build-A-Bear is key in helping to drive curiosity in young minds about space exploration," said Sandra Nelson, Vice President of Marketing, Axiom Space. "We want our fifth crew member, GiGi, to inspire youth in space exploration and encourage them to grow their knowledge about STEAM. It's imperative that we build a diverse workforce with a unique skillset ready to drive innovations and fuel new ideas to advance civilization."

Julia Fitzgerald, Chief Marketing Officer at Build-A-Bear, shares her excitement on the continued partnership with Axiom Space. "We love to foster creativity and create special moments at Build-A-Bear, so we are pleased to continue our partnership with Axiom Space and see our beloved GiGi head back to orbit as part of the Ax-3 mission. Not only does this mark a special moment in history, but we also hope GiGi's story inspires children to consider STEAM activities, hobbies and even careers. Our bears are always there for a hug and friendship, but we especially love when they can also provide the inspiration for pursuing a 'sky's not the limit' adventure."

About The Ax-3 Mission
Ax-3 will be the first all-European commercial astronaut mission to launch to the space station – redefining the pathway to low-Earth orbit (LEO) and helping chart a course toward Axiom Station, the world's first commercial space station.

The Ax-3 crewmembers are Commander Michael López-Alegría of the U.S. and Spain, Pilot Walter Villadei of the Italian Air Force, and Mission Specialists Alper Gezeravcı of Türkiye and Marcus Wandt of Sweden and ESA. To learn more about the Ax-3 mission, visit

GiGi's Story
GiGi was the first Build-A-Bear to make bear history this past spring as the fifth crew member and zero-gravity indicator aboard the historic Ax-2 mission. GiGi, yet again, will have the special opportunity to serve as the zero-g indicator to return to space aboard the upcoming Ax-3 mission. GiGi shares these inspiring words:

"My first space mission was the culmination of a lifelong dream. Now, I am a full-time astronaut and aspiring pilot, and this next space adventure will give me the opportunity to learn even more and complete my pilot training. With a little heart and a lot of hard work and dedication, I want all children to know that dreams are always within reach."

To read GiGi's full story and follow her space adventures please visit her blog at  Fans can also follow GiGi's exciting adventures on all @buildabear social channels.

Celebrate GiGi's Second Mission
Be part of this memorable moment and join Build-A-Bear for an out-of-this-world party with fun events at participating Build-A-Bear Workshops. Visit select stores on Saturday, January 13 and Saturday, January 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for fun sticker giveaways, an appearance from our mascot Bearemy, and the opportunity to make a furry friend and outfit them in the Axiom Space next-generation spacesuit.  This unique replica of the spacesuit worn by the crew is available in select stores, online at Build-A-Bear and

Axiom Space is building for beyond, guided by the vision of a thriving home in space that benefits every human, everywhere. The leading provider of human spaceflight services and developer of human-rated space infrastructure, Axiom Space operates end-to-end missions to the International Space Station today while developing its successor, Axiom Station – the world's first commercial space station in low-Earth orbit, which will sustain human growth off the planet and bring untold benefits back home. For more information about Axiom Space, visit

Build-A-Bear is a multi-generational global brand focused on its mission to "add a little more heart to life" appealing to a wide array of consumer groups who enjoy the personal expression in making their own "furry friends" to celebrate and commemorate life moments. Nearly 500 interactive brick-and-mortar experience locations operated through a variety of formats provide guests of all ages a hands-on entertaining experience, which often fosters a lasting and emotional brand connection. The company also offers engaging e-commerce/digital purchasing experiences on and its age-gated, adult-focused "Bear Cave". In addition, extending its brand power beyond retail, Build-A-Bear Entertainment, a subsidiary of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc., is dedicated to creating engaging content for kids and adults that fulfills the company's mission.

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SOURCE Build-A-Bear Workshop

PR Contacts: Axiom Space: Meridyth Moore,; Build-A-Bear: Jaime Ludwig,