LEGO explains why the VIP NASA Ulysses Space Probe launch went so badly

The LEGO Group’s VIP team says it was ‘unprepared’ for how quickly the NASA Ulysses Space Probe sold out last month – despite ramping up production on the exclusive reward.

Originally intended to tie in with April’s brand new 10283 NASA Space Shuttle Discovery, the NASA Ulysses Space Probe’s delayed launch went anything but smoothly. The VIP Rewards Centre buckled under the traffic, and the promo ended up selling out within minutes – leaving the majority of eager fans disappointed and empty-handed.

During a call with LEGO Ambassadors earlier today, Global VIP Program Director Jason Whiting admitted that despite increasing capacity on the probe to 10,000 units – four times the usual production numbers for a VIP reward – the company was ‘unprepared’ for just how popular Space would be as a ‘passion point’.

LEGO VIP Rewards Centre Ulysses Space Probe sold out featured

Based on both the reactions on the day and the alarming price the probe has since commanded on the aftermarket, 10,000 copies was obviously still way too few. But the VIP team was apparently going off its own history: the buildable red 2×4 brick was produced in similar numbers, for example, and took five months to sell out.

Jason also acknowledged that sharing the specific time that the NASA Ulysses Space Probe was due to go live ended up being counterproductive, with unable to cope with the increased traffic – which apparently surpassed even Black Friday numbers.

That hasn’t stopped the team sharing a specific time for the next VIP collectible coin, however – but Jason says the team has since worked to scale up the site to factor in that increased demand, so we hopefully shouldn’t see a repeat of the Space Probe saga come Thursday’s gold coin launch.

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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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