Lego’s continued push to create impressively detailed replica sets targeted at older builders is making it harder to be a fiscally responsible adult. To help celebrate NASA’s latest success with landing another rover on Mars, Lego’s new Discovery Space Shuttle commemorates one of the space agency’s previous achievements: launching the Hubble Space Telescope over 30 years ago.
This year also marks the 40th anniversary of NASA’s Space Shuttle program, so Lego appropriately chose Discovery for this set because no other spacecraft has performed as many spaceflights and carried as many astronauts. Discovery was also the first NASA Space Shuttle to be retired, and while visiting the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center to see it in person remains a challenge during an active pandemic, Lego’s new 2,354-piece replica is the next best thing.
Designed at 1:70 the scale of the real spacecraft, Lego’s latest version of Discovery (the toymaker has produced a few Discovery sets already) is its largest to date measuring almost 22 inches long with a wingspan of over 13.5 inches. That scale allowed Lego’s designers to include a lot of additional features this time around, including retractable landing gear, the retractable Canadarm, a rudder that splits in two to serve as an airbrake during landings, working elevons, and a spacious cargo bay where an equally detailed model of the Hubble Space Telescope can hitch a ride.
Lego’s designers appeared to have put as much work into making an accurate replica of the Hubble Telescope as the shuttle carrying it. It’s covered in 108 silver elements—the most ever included in a single lego set—and features an opening and closing aperture door revealing the optics inside as well as solar panels that can be attached once the telescope is removed from Discovery’s cargo bay. The telescope even has a removable component for those who want to recreate the various Servicing Missions from 1993 to 2009 that helped to give Hubble a second life.
As with many of its adult-targeted model sets, Lego is including stands allowing the Discovery Space Shuttle and the Hubble Space Telescope to be displayed separately, and a third stand that can be mounted inside the spacecraft’s cargo bay so they can also be displayed together. Availability is expected to start on April 1, 2021, with a $200 price tag.