LEGO and NASA launch the Space Shuttle Discovery set with the help of Astronaut Dr Kathy Sullivan

The LEGO Group has partnered with NASA to launch its new LEGO NASA Space Shuttle Discovery set, a new science-focused construction set aimed at the adult LEGO fan audience.

The new set was officially revealed this week by the former NASA Astronaut, Dr Kathy Sullivan, who was part of the original NASA STS-31 mission over 30 years ago. This was the mission that launched the Hubble Telescope, the telescope that has gone on to capture images of the universe and shape our understanding of space.

To celebrate the launch of the new LEGO NASA Space Shuttle Discovery, the LEGO Group spoke to Dr. Kathy Sullivan about her experience onboard the original NASA STS-31 mission and how the real-life space shuttle compares to the LEGO model’s detailed build of the spacecraft and famous Hubble Space Telescope.

Filmed at COSI (Center of Science and Industry), the interview is now available on lego.com/gobeyond, and sees Dr. Kathy Sullivan detail the incredible mission, which launched the Hubble Space Telescope into the cosmos – enabling NASA, and scientists around the world, to explore more of the universe than ever before.

The interview also delved into Dr. Sullivan’s thoughts on encouraging more young people into STEM careers and the future of space exploration.

The new LEGO NASA Space Shuttle Discovery is a complex 2,354 piece build that pays homage to this pioneering moment in space history and marks the 40th anniversary since the first Space Shuttle flight on 12th of April 1981.

Aimed at adult builders, the set features the Discovery orbiter with functional landing gear, payload bay doors, elevons and rudder; and the Hubble Space Telescope, which can either be folded and contained within the payload bay or expanded with solar array and displayed separately.

Both also come with a display plaque which features key data from the mission.

Dr. Kathy Sullivan said: “I was thrilled to see the space shuttle in LEGO form, and was very impressed by the amount of intricate detail they have managed to recreate from the module where we used to sleep and eat through to what we called the “milk stalls” on the telescope.

“Looking at the model, it was great to reminisce about my experiences in space launching the telescope for the first time. Hubble is definitely the highlight of my career. This LEGO model is a great way for LEGO builders and space fans alike to get excited about space travel and learn more about the famous mission in a fun and engaging way.”

Marking the passing of 30 years since the original mission, LEGO has delved into people’s passion for space to uncover what they think of exploration. 72 per cent of those asked believe space exploration is ‘essential’. 24 per cent of them believe that we will find new planets, and 13 per cent think we will find alien life in the next 30 years.

71 per cent of people believe there is life on other planets, while over half think there will be space tourism in the next 30 years.

Speaking with LEGO, Dr Kathy Sullivan suggested that “the biggest barriers to space tourism in the next 30 years is the safety and costs elements, if we can break through these the general public really could take a trip to space in the future.”

As part of the wider LEGO Go beyond campaign, that kicks off with this product launch, space and LEGO fans alike can head to lego.com/gobeyond to watch the interview and find out more about the original mission, discover more about the LEGO NASA Space Shuttle Discovery set and access some great online space learning tools from LEGO Education.

LEGO® NASA Space Shuttle Discovery is on sale 1st April from LEGO.com and LEGO Retail stores.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of ToyNews and its sister title, Licensing.biz. He has worked his way from Staff Writer to Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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