It’s not, therefore – as rumoured – a LEGO depiction of Space Shuttle Columbia, which first took flight in 1981, but tragically disintegrated on re-entry in 2003. Steering clear of that disaster is probably a pretty wise move, even if it does mean 10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery is a bit trickier to tie to a major anniversary.
It is tied to a real-world event, however: specifically, the American Space Shuttle program’s 35th mission, STS-31, which launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 1990. It wasn’t Space Shuttle Discovery’s first mission – that took place in 1984 – but it was the one that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope into Earth orbit.
As a result, 10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery includes not only the bricks to build not only its iconic, eponymous rocket, but also a detailed recreation of the Hubble Space Telescope. And yes, you can tuck it inside the shuttle’s payload bay, attach it to the Remote Manipulator System (or robotic arm), or display it separately from Discovery, as both models come with individual information plaques.
“The Space Shuttle is the most complex vehicle ever made, so as you can imagine, translating this into LEGO was an exciting challenge,” said the set’s designer, Milan Madge. “In the real vehicle every inch of space is used in ingenious ways.
“Generally, in a LEGO model we can rely on the size to accommodate the structure that holds the whole set together, but on the Discovery Space Shuttle we needed to create a smooth exterior and an interior capable of holding the payload. Add functional landing gear and you have a real puzzle.
“This was without a doubt the most challenging part of this model – trying to couple the front and main landing gear without removing any space from the payload bay and without compromising the structure of the model. My favourite part of the set is the tiny blue seats that carried five human beings away from their home planet on a mission that allowed us to discover parts of the universe never seen before!”
10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery contains 2,354 pieces and will retail for £169.99 / $199.99 / €179.99. Its launch date in LEGO Stores and at LEGO.com is April 1, 2021, when it will be available for everyone – regardless of your current VIP status.
For more on 10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery, dive into the specific details of the set’s design, check out our extensive image gallery, and journey into the LEGO cosmos with former NASA astronaut Dr. Kathy Sullivan.