Toymaker Lego has released a new NASA Space Shuttle Discovery that celebrates the wonders of space exploration. The release of the set is timely for the 40th anniversary of the very first shuttle flight.
On 12 April 1981, the Space Shuttle Columbia blasted into space, ushering in a new era for space travel. Nine years later, on 24 April 1990, the Space Shuttle Discovery took off for the 35th American Space Shuttle mission.
Designated as the STS-31 mission, the Discovery ferried the Hubble Space Telescope into space. This new Lego build, available at Lego Certified Stores from 1 April 2021, replicates that flight in plastic brick form.
Ready For Blast Off
The Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery pays homage to the pioneering moment in space history. To reveal the set, Lego tapped the expertise of former NASA Astronaut Dr Kathy Sullivan who was part of the STS-31 mission.
Made up of 2354 pieces, the set is incredibly detailed and a direct reflection of its full-size counterpart. The set build includes functional landing gear and payload bay doors with reflective stickers mimicking the real shuttle’s cooling radiators.
The rear of Discovery houses the three main engines used for launch into orbit. It also boasts smaller engines designed for in-orbit manoeuvres. The tail’s rudder features a speed brake designed to assist in landing control and rollout on the runway after touchdown.
It is not only the Space Shuttle’s exterior that is incredibly accurate. The crew cabin features the five seats in their correct placement for the astronauts on the STS-31 mission. It also includes the flight and robotic arm (Remote Manipulator System, or RMS), control panels. The mid-deck also contains the space shuttle’s storage lockers and the airlock to the payload bay.
The payload bay itself contains the Ku-band antenna for communications, cameras for the crew to monitor operations within the bay. The RMS arm is also there to grapple and release Hubble to carry out its mission.
Like the shuttle, the same attention to detail has been applied to the Hubble Space Telescope. It is designed with a hinged mirror housing just like the actual telescope along with gold foil solar arrays as well as a realistic, reflective, metallic silver design. The telescope can be stowed in the payload bay or connected to the RMS arm for deployment.
Both the Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery and Hubble Space Telescope can be displayed together or separately. The set also comes with stands and information plaques, to display your creation with pride.