Why the new LEGO® NASA Discovery Space Shuttle is so relaxing to build

Why the new LEGO® NASA Discovery Space Shuttle is so relaxing to build

Made up of 2,354 individual pieces, the new LEGO® NASA Space Shuttle Discovery set is almost as impressive as the original it was inspired by (admittedly on a much smaller scale). But don’t let that intimidate you – as challenging as it is, it is also a rewardingly relaxing LEGO set to build.  

A detailed recreation of the STS-31 mission launched in April 1990, this NASA collectible brings together the vastness and tranquility of space travel with a level of detail that allows you to zone out and leave the world at your door.

But what is it about this gratifying space shuttle LEGO set that is so satisfyingly soothing to build? We’re glad you asked...

It’s a rare chance to get inside the head-space of the original astronauts

The five seats for Discovery crew members
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NASA Space Shuttle Discovery

Average rating4.7out of 5 stars
Price81490 Ft

The Space Shuttle Discovery STS-31 mission carried five crew members to deploy the Hubble...into the cosmos. You’ll step into their metaphorical space slippers and recreate the crew cabin, complete with an accurate placement of the five seats that catapulted them into the history books. The mid-deck even contains space for an imaginary crew member to sit in the airlock to the payload bay. 

Imagining how the crew felt flying into the unknown was the most joyful part of the build for set designer Milan Madge. Specifically with the tiny blue seats that carried 5 human beings away from their home planet on a mission that allowed us to discover parts of the universe never seen before. 

The sense of escaping the ordinariness of everyday continues well beyond the building process. Once your set is finished and ready to wow, you can display your creation with pride using the stands and information plaques that the set comes with.

These ‘floating’ stands have been specially designed to give the impression that both the Discovery and the Hubble Telescope are orbiting in space on an all-important quest to document the stars.  

Incredible attention to detail allows you to you focus your mind

The sheer accuracy of the model makes recreating this magnificent mission a great way to take off into the world of space travel from the comfort of your own home. The set comes with functional landing gear and a set of payload bay doors that, thanks to gravity, open and close with a joyously satisfying sound.

These small details also add to making this such a satisfying feat of LEGO mindfulness. From the Ku-band antenna for communications in the payload bay, cameras for the crew to monitor operations within the bay, and the Canadarm ready to grapple and release the brick-built Hubble Space Telescope to carry out its mission. 

The Hubble Space Telescope can be displayed either on its own or inside the Space Shuttle.

The same thoughtful design details have been applied to the Hubble, with its hinged mirror housing and new gold foil solar arrays as well as a realistic, reflective, metallic silver design. The telescope can also be stowed in the payload bay ready to be connected to the Canadarm for deployment, just as it was on mission STS-31. 

Challenge your way to a calmer self 

This is undoubtedly a complex build, but it’s also a calming and gratifying challenge. Plus, imagine how you’ll feel when it’s finished! When designing the model, Milan Madge said,

“The Space Shuttle is the most complex vehicle ever made, so as you can imagine, translating this into LEGO bricks was an exciting challenge. In the real vehicle, every inch of space is used in ingenious ways. Generally, in a LEGO model we can rely on the size to accommodate the structure that holds the whole set together, but on the LEGO NASA Space Shuttle Discovery we needed to create a smooth exterior and an interior capable of holding the payload. Add functional landing gear and you have a real puzzle.”

That satisfyingly smooth exterior and functionality is all part of what makes this piece of NASA memorabilia so fun to build. And of course, as always, the relaxing click of bricks is a zen way to spend a few hours.

Space out and zone in

Images courtesy of @yc_solo

There’s something about space that forces you into a bit of self reflection, isn’t there? Since Yuri Gagarin became the first person to orbit the Earth back in 1961, astronauts have been sharing the profound, life-upending experience of seeing planet Earth become a dot in the distance. Yuri himself said, “When I orbited the Earth, I saw how beautiful our planet was. Mankind, let us preserve this beauty and not destroy it.”<br>

When you recreate the Discovery, in some small way, you as a maker also get a chance to experience a perspective shift. There are so many LEGO benefits for adults, but building your own shuttle to the stars and claiming a small part of [living room floor] space for yourself, is surely up there with one of the best. We hope you enjoy exploring.