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  NASA and LEGO partnership: Bricks in space

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Author Topic:   NASA and LEGO partnership: Bricks in space
Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 11-04-2010 04:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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LEGO space shuttle launching on NASA's "flying brick" Discovery

As the space shuttle Discovery lifts off on its final mission, it will have onboard a small LEGO version of itself, launching a new partnership between the Denmark-based toy company and NASA.

The seven-inch long LEGO shuttle, which was assembled from about 60 of the iconic toy pieces, gives new meaning to the term "flying brick" as popularly used to describe the real shuttle given that it returns to Earth as a very heavy unpowered glider...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-04-2010 04:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA And The LEGO Group Partner To Inspire Children To Build And Explore The Future

A LEGO space shuttle headed to orbit helps mark the Tuesday signing of a Space Act Agreement between NASA and The LEGO Group to spark children's interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

To commemorate the beginning of this partnership, the small LEGO shuttle will launch with the crew of the space shuttle Discovery on its STS-133 mission.

The partnership marks the beginning of a three-year agreement that will use the inspiration of NASA's space exploration missions and the appeal of the popular LEGO bricks to spur children's interest in STEM. The theme of the partnership is "Building and Exploring Our Future."

The LEGO Group will release four NASA-inspired products in their LEGO CITY line next year. The space-themed products will vary in terms of complexity, engaging audiences from young children to adult LEGO fans. Each product release will contain NASA-inspired education materials.

"Partnering with The LEGO Group is a perfect fit. We have taken the excitement of NASA's missions and coupled that with kids' love of creating things with the iconic LEGO bricks," said Leland Melvin, NASA's associate administrator for Education. "These projects not only foster creativity but also instill in the young builders a real sense of the engineering and design principles that NASA uses every day. Fun learning activities like these can help inspire kids to become the next generation of explorers."

As part of the Space Act Agreement, NASA will send special LEGO sets to the International Space Station aboard shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission in February 2011. The sets will be assembled by astronauts on-orbit and by children and student groups across the country. The construction process and activities with the sets will demonstrate the challenges faced when building things in the microgravity environment of space.

"The LEGO Group's purpose is to inspire children to think creatively, reason systematically and release their potential to shape their own future," said Stephan Turnipseed, president of LEGO Education North America. "The partnership with NASA provides us a unique opportunity to fulfill our purpose while expanding the imaginations of children around the world. A child who plays with LEGO bricks today can become the NASA astronaut or engineer of tomorrow. "

As part of the NASA-The LEGO Group partnership kick-off, a 40-feet by 70-feet activity tent will be set up Wednesday at the shuttle launch viewing site on the NASA Causeway in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Children of all ages will be invited to get creative and build their vision of the future with LEGO bricks as they await Discovery's launch.

To see images of prelaunch activities, visit: LEGOspace.com

The site has galleries featuring images of prelaunch activities and will add games and other activities leading up to the release of the complete line of LEGO Space City games, activities and products on March 1.

NASA's Office of Education in Washington seeks partnerships that help the agency promote student interest in STEM studies and careers.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-04-2010 10:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to NASA, some of the sets being produced for this partnership will be sold to the public, while others will be internal to NASA's use only.

The space shuttle flying on STS-133 is from LEGO's existing Space & Airport Set, part of their Education line.

The space shuttle flying on STS-134 is a new set, to be added to LEGO's City line:

The International Space Station is another new set, which may be offered for sale:

LEGO has also produced vignette sets showing scenes from inside the space station. They will not be sold but will be used by NASA as part of their educational outreach activities.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-06-2011 01:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In November 2010, NASA announced:
The LEGO Group will release four NASA-inspired products in their LEGO CITY line next year. The space-themed products will vary in terms of complexity, engaging audiences from young children to adult LEGO fans. Each product release will contain NASA-inspired education materials.
The four NASA-inspired LEGO CITY sets have now been revealed.
3365: Moon Buggy

3366: Satellite Launch Platform

3367: Space Shuttle

3368: Rocket Station

The four sets are scheduled for release in the U.S. in March. They are already for sale in the United Kingdom.

(It is still to be seen if LEGO will release other sets, such as the International Space Station, as pictured earlier.)

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-07-2011 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Additional product photos (the box art without the box):

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-24-2012 03:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Astronaut builds LEGO space station inside real-life space station

It took more than 200 astronauts from 12 countries more than a dozen years to build the International Space Station (ISS). Satoshi Furukawa, an astronaut from Japan, matched that feat in just about two hours — and he did it all while aboard the orbiting outpost itself.

It helped that his space station was made out of LEGO.

"It was a great opportunity for me to have built the LEGO space station," Furukawa, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) flight engineer, told collectSPACE.com in an interview after he returned to Earth. "I enjoyed building it."

alexbaja
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Posts: 389
From: Naxxar, Malta
Registered: Dec 2010

posted 02-25-2012 12:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for alexbaja   Click Here to Email alexbaja     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
WOW a Lego in weightlessness, that is really cool!

What would be the price of this?

Not only as a flown Lego but also the speed and the distance it would have traveled around planet Earth.

Jay Chladek
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From: Bellevue, NE, USA
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posted 02-26-2012 01:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Even though the LEGO ISS is not available for sale, LEGO should at least consider putting up a building and parts guide on the web in case anybody wants to acquire the right parts to build one.

cspg
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posted 02-26-2012 02:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Although I agree with the idea, I do remember someone from LEGO saying that such model wouldn't "work" on Earth — pieces would fall off because of lack of strength to hold them together.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-05-2012 07:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A fan built the NASA-inspired 3367: Space Shuttle set and sent it flying suspended from a weather balloon.

My Lego tribute to the end of the space shuttle era. Proving that although retired, this machine can still fly, albeit in toy form.

The launch took place from central Germany and reached a max altitude of 35000m. A 1600g meteo balloon filled with helium was used alongside a GoPro Hero, Spot GPS and of course Lego Space Shuttle model 3367.

alexbaja
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From: Naxxar, Malta
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posted 03-05-2012 09:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for alexbaja   Click Here to Email alexbaja     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a fantastic idea, Lego bricks do have a fantastic grip but I hope he glued all the pieces together in order not to jeopardize the mission.

Do you know the distance it traveled? It is great that he managed to retrieve all the equipment for a successful mission. These GoPro cameras are fantastic they are small but HD. I noticed he used a Styrofoam box for protection and for the extreme temperatures.

I really liked his idea. Thumbs up.

Jay Chladek
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Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 03-05-2012 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll bet he glued it together since water droplets seeping into the cracks could have run the risk of popping some parts off.

That is indeed a cool idea. I am now a little tempted to fly one of my space models on a weather balloon now (it would have to be a small one).

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-25-2013 11:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
LEGO toys returning from space station on Earth-bound cargo craft

For the astronauts living on board the International Space Station (ISS), it has come time to put away their toys.

Hundreds of LEGO toy bricks are soon to be Earth-bound after spending two years circling the planet as part of an educational partnership between the Danish toy company and NASA. The astronauts have packed the iconic multi-color toys aboard SpaceX's Dragon, a commercial cargo spacecraft, which is scheduled to leave the space station and splash down in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday (March 26).

Ronpur
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From: Brandon, Fl
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posted 03-25-2013 02:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder how long it will take Lego to have these bricks for sale as orbited Lego Bricks?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-25-2013 02:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As mentioned in the article, the plan is to display the models, rather than sell them.

But that said, I was also told NASA is considering perhaps using some of the flown bricks as prizes for a new student-focused educational challenge.

I doubt very much that LEGO will offer any of the bricks it receives back from NASA for sale (it certainly doesn't need the money) but that said it would be a neat idea if, taking a page from NASA's earlier Manned Flight Awareness medals, LEGO melted down some of the flown bricks, added their plastic to their production line and sold a special set of made-in-part space bricks.

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