Lego announced, on April 28, 2017, a new NASA Apollo Saturn V toy set, to be released June 1. This toy is the newest play set, and the third that is space themed, is Lego’s effort to encourage fans to submit ideas for new designs.
NASA Rocket Inspires New Lego Toy Set
The first photos of the new Lego set were released on Friday. The impressive structure is said to be more than 3-feet-tall, once fully erected. It is modeled after the 363-foot-tall NASA Saturn V rocket, known as Heavy Lift Vehicle, built during the 1960s and 1970s Apollo program.
The beautiful toy was inspired by a submission on the Lego crowdsourcing website that searches for ideas. Felix Stiessen and Valerie Roche, with the usernames of saabfan and whatsuptoday, submitted their NASA-inspired suggestion in 2014. By November 2015, Lego’s crowdsourcing platform gave the idea the 10,000 votes it needed to make it eligible for review by the Lego’s specialized team of designers. Within seven months the proposal was given the approval for production.
Designer’s at the famed toy company changed a few of the original plans of the rocket’s interior that Stiessen and Roche originally proposed. Impressive is the exterior design that separates in three sections that mimic the innovative NASA Saturn V three phases in completing Apollo lunar missions. The toy model is completed with the top section holding the Command and Lunar Modules.
NASA Serves As an Inspirational Source for Lego
Saturn V was originally built to take humans to the moon and is famous for being the only rocket, with its great strength of power, to have achieved success. Apollo 11 astronauts completed the first mission to land successfully on the moon in 1969. To commemorate that moment the Lego NASA Saturn V re-creation is made up of 1,969 pieces.
Lego and space fans will now be able to build their own model of the rocket that brought people to the moon. To showcase the completed replica, Lego is including three stands to allow for horizontal presentation. Included, in the $119.99 set, is an informative booklet with details about the Apollo missions and the Saturn V toy’s fan designers.
Those playing with their toy, after building it, will have fun interacting with the included three new astronaut microfigures. The number of figurines represents the original NASA Apollo three crew members. As smaller versions of the well-known LEGO minifigures, the tiny figures are crafted to be on the same scale as the rocket.
The toy giant began its trip to outer space with the release of their space sets in 1978, known as LEGOLAND Space. Those sets were also the beginning of Lego introducing systems to build that included play themes. Included in the sets were some of the company’s first minifigures, also introduced that same year.
NASA Has a Mission to Partner With Lego to Teach
Lego has found a collaborator with NASA, in coming together with a common goal to teach children about science, technology, and engineering. In 2010, NASA and the Lego company signed a Space Act Agreement in a partnered effort to create educational activities to inspire children to want to learn. The alliance had Lego releasing designs inspired by NASA, complete with educational information.
NASA agreed to send the Lego sets to the International Space Station. Astronauts assembled the sets in the microgravity of outer space, while students in the U.S. built the models on Earth. The space agency has partnered with Lego in many educational opportunities and competitions created to inspire education for all ages.
In 2013, a design competition was announced to specifically excite 13-to-18-year-olds to want to learn about aerospace engineering. The contest involved designing and building an aircraft model based on a technical paper written in preparation of the submitters’ design. The newest NASA and Lego joint endeavor is Mission to Space.
This partnered experience is aimed at inviting children to enjoy learning with an on-line summer activity. Mission to Space invites kids of all ages to experience internet driven space visits, traveling to the International Space Station, Mars, and Jupiter. An on-line challenge inspires designing and building of unique spacecraft.
Along with the NASA Apollo Saturn V toy set, Lego is traveling with the space agency as it continues important research. NASA continues its studies involving Earth, Jupiter, Mars and the International Space Station to keep the exploration into space going.
By Carol Ruth Weber
Edited by Cathy Milne
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Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Ben’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License