Come Vote and Turn this SpaceX LEGO Set into a Reality

LEGO SpaceX Set

Remember the really cool Saturn V rocket set released by LEGO last year? Want to help set the direction for the next space-related LEGO set that should get built? Well then, check out SpaceX: The Ultimate Collection.

This is a proposed LEGO set designed by Matthew Nolan and Valerie Roche (co-designer of the Saturn V set), consisting of three separate modules:

Block 5 Variant Falcon 9

For starters, you’ll get a Block 5 variant of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with its 9 Merlin engines, black interstage and titanium gridfins. The legs actually move up and down and lock in place for that rapid landing and easy reusablity. It also comes with a detachable upper stage with a variety of cargos. You can put a communications satellite into the detachable fairing, or a Dragon 2 capsule that’s ready to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere with its heat shield. 371 bricks

Falcon 9 Block 5. Credit Matthew Nolan and Valerie Roche
Falcon 9 Block 5. Credit Matthew Nolan and Valerie Roche
Dragon 2 Capsule. Credit Matthew Nolan and Valerie Roche
Dragon 2 Capsule. Credit Matthew Nolan and Valerie Roche


Falcon Heavy

Then there’s a completely separate Falcon Heavy with its three detachable cores, each of which has its own landing legs. It has a detachable second stage with its Merlin Vacuum Engines and fuel tanks. At the top there’s a payload fairing, and inside that – this is the best part – there’s a tiny Tesla Roadster as a payload, so you can fly your car to space, just like Elon Musk. 453 bricks

Falcon Heavy
Falcon Heavy
Tesla Roadster and Starman. Credit Matthew Nolan and Valerie Roche
Tesla Roadster and Starman. Credit Matthew Nolan and Valerie Roche


Transporter/Erector/Launcher

And last but not least, the set comes with a SpaceX Transporter/Erector/Launcher that can hold and display either the Falcon 9 or the Falcon Heavy. You can clamp in either rocket and then raise or lower it, ready for launch. 759 bricks

Falcon Heavy on the Transporter. Credit Matthew Nolan and Valerie Roche
Falcon Heavy on the Transporter. Credit Matthew Nolan and Valerie Roche

If LEGO does decide to build this awesome set, it’ll consist of 1,583 pieces, and measure 64 cm high when fully constructed at 1:110 scale.

Now, I know you’re wondering where you can buy one of these, but you can’t. Instead, you’ve got to help convince LEGO that this is a set that they should consider putting into production at LEGO Ideas. At the time that I’m writing this article, they’ve gotten 3440 supporters to join the campaign. Because of all the support, LEGO has extended their campaign twice, and now they’ve got 589 days left to reach the 10,000 supporters.

So go, help make this happen.

Oh, and maybe we can convince LEGO to add a Drone ship for landings, Mr. Steven to catch fairings, and maybe a BFR while they’re at it.

LEGO Apollo Saturn V: Tallest LEGO Ideas Set Ever Made

The New LEGO Apollo Saturn V set displayed in horizontal position. Credit: LEGO

LEGO Saturn V in launch configuration. Credit: LEGO
LEGO Saturn V in launch configuration. Credit: LEGO

Yesterday LEGO announced that their new LEGO Apollo Saturn V set will be available to buy on June 1, 2017. And let me tell you, this thing is going to be a monster. In fact, it’ll be the tallest LEGO set ever made from their crowdsourced LEGO Ideas competition, with a total height of 1 meter (39 inches). It’s going have a total of 1969 pieces (got to assume this isn’t a coincidence), and it contains all the separate parts to run your own simulated Moon mission (LEGO Moon not included).

The LEGO Ideas competitions allow LEGO builders to propose construction ideas to the LEGO community. Fans vote up their favorite designs, and then winning sets are chosen by LEGO to be turned into actual sets. At any time, there are a bunch of space-related LEGO sets in the running, including a Hubble Space Telescope (not approved), Cassini-Huygens (expired), and the Mars Curiosity Rover (approved and in stores now).

LEGO NASA Apollo 11 Set. Credit: LEGO
LEGO NASA Apollo 11 Set. Credit: LEGO

The NASA Apollo Saturn V set was originally created by Felix Stiessen (saabfan) and Valérie Roche (whatsuptoday), and pitched to the LEGO Ideas community back in 2014. It gained enough votes to pass through each stage of approval, and yesterday, LEGO announced it’ll be available as a full set on June 1, 2017.

What’s going to be in the set? According to LEGO, it can be stacked up in its original launch profile, with all the stages attached, service module and command module attached. Or, you can display it horizontally, with the three stages separately on stands. You’ll actually be able to extract the lunar lander, dock it with the various modules, descend to your own LEGO Moon (again, you’re going to need to supply your own Moon here, maybe that’ll be a future set?), and return the command module back to an ocean landing on Earth (again, Earth not supplied).

Command, Service and Lunar Lander Modules in various configurations. Credit: LEGO
Command, Service and Lunar Lander Modules in various configurations. Credit: LEGO

This is the tallest set to ever come out of the LEGO Ideas Community, and the one with the most pieces – 1969, which coincidentally, was the same year that humans first walked on the Moon with Apollo 11. The initial prototype set was crated by Stiessen and Roche, but then the LEGO team took over when the idea was approved, enhancing it and preparing it for its final release as an official LEGO set.

It’s going to have a scale of 1:110. Since the set will be 1-metre high, that’ll give you a sense of just how big the original Saturn V rocket really was: 110 metres (or 363 feet). Regular LEGO minifigs have a scale of 1:47 or so, which means that regular minifigs won’t fit as astronauts into the set, but LEGO is planning to release a team of 3 new astronaut minifigs so you can play out the lunar landings.

This won’t be the tallest LEGO set ever built, though, that honor goes to the Eiffel Tower which is 7cm taller. That’s not much, though, they should have considered building the launch pad too, but now I’m just getting greedy.

Story credit: LEGO Ideas

Weekly Space Hangout – April 17, 2015: Amy Shira Teitel and “Breaking the Chains of Gravity”

Host: Fraser Cain (@fcain)
Special Guest: Amy Shira Teitel (@astVintageSpace) discussing space history and her new book Breaking the Chains of Gravity
Guests:
Morgan Rehnberg (cosmicchatter.org / @MorganRehnberg )

This Week’s Stories:
Falcon 9 launch and (almost!) landing
NASA Invites ESA to Build Europa Piggyback Probe
Bouncing Philae Reveals Comet is Not Magnetised
Astronomers Watch Starbirth in Real Time
SpaceX Conducts Tanking Test on In-Flight Abort Falcon 9
Rosetta Team Completely Rethinking Comet Close Encounter Strategy
Apollo 13 Custom LEGO Minifigures Mark Mission’s 45th Anniversary
LEGO Launching Awesome Spaceport Shuttle Sets in August
New Horizons Closes in on Pluto
Work Platform to be Installed in the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Watching the Sunsets of Mars Through Robot Eyes: Photos
NASA Invites ESA to Build Europa Piggyback Probe
ULA Plans to Introduce New Rocket One Piece at a Time
Two Mysterious Bright Spots on Dwarf Planet Ceres Are Not Alike
18 Image Montage Show Off Comet 67/P Activity
ULA’s Next Rocket To Be Named Vulcan
NASA Posts Huge Library of Space Sounds And You’re Free to Use Them
Explaining the Great 2011 Saturn Storm
Liquid Salt Water May Exist on Mars
Color Map Suggests a Once-Active Ceres
Diverse Destinations Considered for New Interplanetary Probe
Paul Allen Asserts Rights to “Vulcan” Trademark, Challenging Name of New Rocket
First New Horizons Color Picture of Pluto and Charon
NASA’s Spitzer Spots Planet Deep Within Our Galaxy
Icy Tendrils Reaching into Saturn Ring Traced to Their Source
First Signs of Self-Interacting Dark Matter?
Anomaly Delays Launch of THOR 7 and SICRAL 2
Nearby Exoplanet’s Hellish Atmosphere Measured
The Universe Isn’t Accelerating As Fast As We Thought
Glitter Cloud May Serve As Space Mirror
Cassini Spots the Sombrero Galaxy from Saturn
EM-1 Orion Crew Module Set for First Weld Milestone in May
Special Delivery: NASA Marshall Receives 3D-Printed Tools from Space
The Roomba for Lawns is Really Pissing Off Astronomers
Giant Galaxies Die from the Inside Out
ALMA Reveals Intense Magnetic Field Close to Supermassive Black Hole
Dawn Glimpses Ceres’ North Pole
Lapcat A2 Concept Sup-Orbital Spaceplane SABRE Engine Passed Feasibility Test by USAF Research Lab
50 Years Since the First Full Saturn V Test Fire
ULA CEO Outlines BE-4 Engine Reuse Economic Case
Certification Process Begins for Vulcan to Carry Military Payloads
Major Advance in Artificial Photosynthesis Poses Win/Win for the Environment
45th Anniversary [TODAY] of Apollo 13’s Safe Return to Earth
Hubble’s Having A Party in Washington Next Week (25th Anniversary of Hubble)

Don’t forget, the Cosmoquest Hangoutathon is coming soon!

We record the Weekly Space Hangout every Friday at 12:00 pm Pacific / 3:00 pm Eastern. You can watch us live on Google+, Universe Today, or the Universe Today YouTube page.

You can join in the discussion between episodes over at our Weekly Space Hangout Crew group in G+, and suggest your ideas for stories we can discuss each week!

Sadly, There won’t be a LEGO Hubble Space Telescope

This week the official LEGO review board announced their newest official LEGO model kits that were chosen from fan-suggested ideas, submitted through its LEGO Ideas website. While a Hubble Space Telescope kit seemed an obvious choice (this year is Hubble’s 25th anniversary), instead the review board chose a Pixar WALL-E robot set and a Doctor Who set.

“We reviewed eight amazing projects that reached 10,000 supporters between June and September,” said Signe Lonholdt from the LEGO Ideas team said in a video (below) announcing the winners. The eight sets had each reached 10,000 fan votes, which Lonholdt said is a “tremendous accomplishment,” but the final decision is up to the review board. The board considers factors such as “playability, safety and fit within the LEGO brand.”

The LEGO Hubble Space Telescope set was designed and submitted by fan Gabriel Russo, who said the kit would be “the perfect homage to its 25th anniversary in 2015.” According to Robert Pearlman at collectSpace.com, it reached 10,000 votes last August. You can see the Hubble submission page here.

Other fan-submitted ideas that didn’t make the cut were three different Star Wars sets (an AT-AT, a Lightsaber set and an Invisible Hand set) along with a Ghostbusters HQ building.

Previous space-related fan-created/submitted kits that were chosen and produced by LEGO are models of Japan’s Hayabusa spacecraft and NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover.

You can see other submitted ideas and vote for them on the LEGO Ideas site.

Source: LEGO

Weekly Space Hangout – January 24, 2014: LEGO Mars Rover & the Supernova We Missed in the Star Party!

Host: Fraser Cain

Special Guests: Stephen Pakbaz, designer of the LEGO Mars Rover Kit, and Ray Sanders from CosmoQuest, who is unboxing and building the kit as we hang out!

Astrojournalists: Morgan Rehnberg, Sondy Springmann, Elizabeth Howell, Casey Dreier, David Dickinson, Nicole Gugliucci, Mike Simmons
Continue reading “Weekly Space Hangout – January 24, 2014: LEGO Mars Rover & the Supernova We Missed in the Star Party!”

Vote for the Curiosity Rover to Become a LEGO Toy

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I know a lot of our readers are — like me — huge LEGO fans, and of course, we have lots of fans of the Mars Science Laboratory, a.k.a the Curiosity rover. One of our readers, Allen Eyler, just sent me an email on how disappointed he and many other rover fans are about the fact that LEGO has no plans to create a Curiosity toy model. However, LEGO has a website where users can submit prototype designs for LEGO projects and if 10,000 people vote for the design, then LEGO will consider mass-producing and marketing that design. Bring in Stephen Pakbaz, an engineer at JPL who was involved in some of the design and testing of the real Curiosity rover. He has now designed and built an amazing Curiosity rover in LEGO, at 1:20 scale. It features the same ‘rocker-bogie’ wheel action just like the real Curiosity rover, along with an articulating arm and a deployable mast.

It looks awesome and I’m already wanting to play with it! And just think of the great outreach for NASA and space exploration it would be to have a Lego Curiosity rover for sale in stores. We now just need our readers to help boost the votes for Curiosity as a LEGO toy model.

All you need to do is visit LEGO’s CUUSOO page for the Curiosity rover and cast your vote. You can see more images of the rover there, or at Stephen Pakbaz’s Flickr page, where there is even a video that shows how the rocker-bogie system works.

Let’s do this!

Curiosity is now on its way to Mars and is set for an exciting landing on August 6. Watch below the incredible, nail-biting video of how it is going to happen:

Launch of a Lego Space Shuttle

While it didn’t quite make it to space, this Lego space shuttle got quite a ride on a weather balloon, reaching 35,000 meters (35 km, 21 miles) above Earth’s surface. “My Lego tribute to the end of the space shuttle era,” wrote Vinciverse on You Tube, “proving that although retired, this machine can still fly, albeit in toy form.”

The launch took place from central Germany using a 1,600 g helium balloon. The equipment included a GoPro Hero video camera, a Spot GPS and of course Lego Space Shuttle model 3367. The flight was apparently cleared with German air traffic control.

Toronto Teens Launch “Lego Man in Space”

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Updated:Jan. 30

Two teens from Toronto,Canada have launched “Lego Man in Space” using a helium filled weather balloon and captured stunning video of the miniature toy figure back dropped by the beautiful curvature of Earth and the desolate blackness of space that’s become a worldwide YouTube sensation – over 2 million hits !

17 year olds Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad lofted the tiny 2 inch tall Lego figure from a local Toronto soccer field up to a height of about 85,000 feet, or 16 miles (25 kilometers), where the 22 foot (7 m) diameter helium balloon burst in what is technically known as the stratosphere. The homemade styrofoam capsule – equipped with two video cameras and two digital cameras (Canon) – then parachuted back to Earth.

“We launched the project on January 7,” Mathew Ho told Universe Today.

“Altogether, we used 4 cameras, two cameras taking stills, and two taking video – Canon, Sony, GoPro – in the 1 cubic foot capsule,” Ho explained.

“After endless hours of hard work, we managed to capture stunning views of our atmosphere and put a ‘Lego’ man into near space!” said the ambitious teens who are 12th graders at the Agincourt Collegiate Institute.

The pair posted a YouTube video (below) documenting the entire voyage and some camera snapshots on their website on January 25.

Lego Man even snapped cool Moon shots – look closely at the video and photo below.

“Lego Man in Space” – The Video

The duo recounted the details of their sensational space tale of science on a shoestring for Canadian TV and newspapers.

“Upon launch we were very relieved. But we had a lot of anxiety on launch day because there were high winds when we were going up after all the hard work,” said Ho in a studio interview on Canadian TV (CTV).

“We were also scared because now we would have to retrieve it back after it came down,” Asad chimed in.

“We had no idea it would capture photos like that and would be so good,” said Ho. “We were blown away when we saw them back home.”

The toy Lego astronaut is seen standing atop a thin runway protruding precariously from one end of the small, box shaped capsule as though he was walking the plank and about to plunge into the ocean of space. All the while, cameras were aimed directly out towards him recording the entire rollicking journey from liftoff to the stratosphere to landing, with a constantly changing Earth in the background.

Altogether they netted two videos and 1500 photos.

Lego Man in Space shoots the Moon !
Credit: Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad

Coincidentally, several Lego toys are constantly flying even higher above the Earth at this very moment aboard the International Space Station as part of an educational outreach effort by NASA and Lego. And 3 more Lego figurines are speeding to Jupiter aboard NASA’s Juno orbiter.

Legoman’s spectacular journey lasted some 97 minutes. He’s beaming proudly throughout the video while holding the Canadian National flag – the Red Maple Leaf. The rollercoaster-like scenery may well challenge the stomachs of those with fear of heights.

The tumbling Lego Man in Space capsule upon the violent descent captured the moment before the parachute was activated. Credit: Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad

Mathew and Asad worked over about four months one day a week on Saturdays to assemble the rig in Mathew’s kitchen and successfully accomplished the feat on a shoestring budget of merely 400 dollars. They used GPS trackers to locate “Lego Man in Space” and recover the intact capsule holding the imagery.

After the balloon burst at 85,000 feet, the parachute assisted descent back to Earth took about 32 minutes. Winds aloft caused the capsule to drift some 76 miles (122 kilometers) away from the launch site before landing at Rice Lake in one piece.

Lego Man in Space capsule after landing 76 miles (122 kilometers) away from the Toronto soccor field launch site. Credit: Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad

“We were jumping for joy when we saw the capsule and the parachute. We were ecstatic when we found it,” said Ho.

“We have a long history of passionate building and working together,” Ho told CTV.

The project began after they saw that MIT students had sent a camera to the edge of space with a balloon and captured stunning views.

“We were inspired by videos and pictures we had seen online two years ago and we began working on this in the Fall of 2011. In total the project cost about $400 Canadian,” Ho told me.

“We hope to publish more pictures and video to our Facebook page and website soon,” Ho added.

And now we know another truth about Lego’s – Not only can they withstand the destructive forces of kids, but outer space too !