LEGO considered combining several space shuttles into one for 10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery

Before settling on STS-31, the LEGO Group was leaning in a very different direction for 10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery – and even considered combining multiple shuttles into a single set.

That’s according to the set’s designer, Milan Madge, who told Brick Fanatics that a number of different space shuttles were ‘in scope’ at one point or another, predominantly based on the individual missions that each one flew.

“All the shuttles have really amazing, specific missions that they did,” Milan explained. “And the one that we were really leaning towards was the Endeavour, actually, when it went to fix the Hubble Space Telescope. So that was the one we’d started working on, and we were heading in that direction.”

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It wasn’t long before Milan and the team changed course, though, as they realised the planned release window for the set – which was decided right at the beginning of development – offered an alternative opportunity to capitalise on a very specific mission.

As you’ll know if you’ve built 10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery, we’re talking about STS-31, which deployed the Hubble Space Telescope into Earth orbit in April 1990 – exactly 31 years prior to the launch of the LEGO set.

“There’s something quite nice about tying into that, and making it more of a celebration of that specific mission, which is why we went in the Discovery direction,” Milan confirmed, before adding that the team wasn’t always laser-focused on a single mission. “There was a time when we were playing with including multiple elements, so you could make it multiple shuttles.”

In the end, the decision to concentrate solely on STS-31 (or any individual mission) wasn’t driven just by timing, but by the reference material that it would grant Milan access to.

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“We referred to NASA quite a lot through the process, and they said if we picked a specific mission, they could give us all kinds of technical details,” he said. “So we could make sure that things like the seats were in the correct layout, or the crew cabin. And so by being super specific on that shuttle on that mission, we were able to get a level of accuracy that maybe we wouldn’t be able to get otherwise.”

You can see just how successful that strategy was in our in-depth review of 10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery, which is available now at Stay tuned to Brick Fanatics to discover more secrets behind the LEGO Group’s latest endeavour into real-world space shuttles, including how it was designed in just a single day.

Keep track of all this year’s May the Fourth offers with our dedicated page, and support the work that Brick Fanatics does by purchasing your LEGO Star Wars sets through one of our affiliate links.

Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

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