“Lego Partners with N.A.S.A. for Apollo 11 Lunar Landing, Mars Exploration Sets,” by S.M. O’Connor

On Thursday, May 30, 2019, Lego System A/S (doing business as The LEGO® Group) announced it is commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of mankind’s first landing on the Moon by the Eagle lunar module with a lunar landing building set.   The LEGO® Creator™ NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander (Set #10266) is comprised of 1,087 pieces and became available at LEGO® Stores and the online LEGO® Shop by clicking here on Saturday, June 1, 2019.  The set is available exclusively at LEGO® Stores and the online LEGO® Shop.  Currently, on the LEGO® Shop, the set is receiving twenty-four five-star reviews, three four-star reviews, and one three-star review on a five-star scale.  All 100% of reviewers would recommend the product.  The list price for this collectible set is $99.99.  This LEGO® Creator™ Expert set is for adults and teenagers ages sixteen-and-over.  Taking inspiration from plans by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (N.A.S.A.) to return humanity to the Moon and eventually land astronauts on Mars, The LEGO® Group is also introducing seven new LEGO® CITY Mars Exploration building sets.  Starting this month, The LEGO® Group is further hosting hands-on outer space-themed activities and programming around the world.

The LEGO® Group argues this is the perfect time to stimulate children’s curiosity about outer space, according to a recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of LEGO® Group amongst parents regarding children’s interest in outer space exploration.  Among American parents with a child in the age range of five-to-twelve, 75% say they have a child interested in outer space exploration, as do 79% of British parents and 93% of Chinese parents.

720_10266_Lunar-Lander_lifestyleFigure 1 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: The baseplate depicts the lunar surface, complete with a crater and footprints.

 

 

True to the real Apollo 11’s Eagle Lunar Lander, the LEGO® Creator™ Expert N.A.S.A. Apollo 11 Lunar Lander model has separate ascent and descent stages.  The LEGO® Group stated, “The descent stage features gold-colored landing pads and panels, opening camera and laser hatches and a ladder, while the ascent stage has a detailed interior.”  Builders can recreate the first steps on the Moon with two astronaut Minifigures™ that represent Commander Neil Alden Armstrong (1930-2012) and pilot Edwin Eugene (“Buzz”) Aldrin, Jr., who stepped on the Moon on July 21, 1969, having landed hours earlier on July 20th (while Command Module Columbia pilot Michael Collins remained in orbit).  The ascent module has room to accommodate both Minifigures™.  The Minifigure™ spacesuits feature N.A.S.A. decoration and golden-colored helmets.  Accessories in the set includes a brick-built video camera and a laser reflector.  The set also includes an American flag like the one Armstrong and Aldrin planted on the Moon and an Apollo 11 nameplate for display purposes.

 

720_10266_Lunar-Lander_productFigure 2 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: The LEGO® Creator™ Expert N.A.S.A. Apollo 11 Lunar Lander measures 7” (20 cm) high, 8” (22 cm) wide, and 7” (20 cm) deep.

LEGO® CITY Mars Exploration sets depict N.A.S.A.’s future ambition.  They are part of the LEGO® City theme (product line) rather than LEGO® Space because the theme LEGOLAND® Space (later LEGO® Space) was devoted to sets in the vein of science fiction and is no longer being produced, whereas LEGO® CITY (originally known as LEGOLAND® Town) has had four subthemes that dealt with exploration of outer space in the present with realistic space shuttles: Launch Command (1995-97), Space Port (1999), and Space (City) (2011), and Space Exploration (2015).  LEGOLAND® Space launched forty-one years ago in 1978, as part of the System within the System alongside LEGOLAND® Town (now LEGO® City), LEGOLAND® Castle (later (LEGO® Castle).  [The way fans call LEGO® Castle sets from 1978 to 1983 as “Classic Castle,” fans call LEGO® Space sets from 1978 to 1987 “Classic Space.”] Over the years, The LEGO® Group has developed nineteen different LEGO® Space subthemes.  [I covered the history of the LEGO® Space science fiction theme and the LEGO® CITY Space subtheme that was more grounded in reality, up until 2015, in “Lego Space Product Lines.”] There have been over twenty LEGO® space shuttles.  The smallest was from the 2001 LEGO® Advent Calendar and was comprised of just ten pieces.  The 3D C.G.I. (computer-generated imagery) animated films The LEGO Movie (2014) and The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019), which Warner Brothers Animation Group produced, paid homage to Classic LEGO® SPACE Minifigures™ with the character Benny the Spaceman.

In addition to celebrating the history of N.A.S.A.’s exploration of outer space, The LEGO® Group aims to inspire children to become the space explorers of the future with seven new LEGO® CITY Mars Exploration building sets inspired by N.A.S.A.’s planned future missions to return to the Moon and reach and explore Mars.

To ensure that the sets reflect many technical details of the rockets, rovers, and equipment that N.A.S.A. may someday use to send astronauts to Mars, LEGO® Group designers met frequently with N.A.S.A. during development of the seven sets.  During visits to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, the toy designers adjusted product designs to more closely reflect real-world technologies.  For example, when the designers learnt about the necessity to take precautions against contamination prompted designers to add face masks for the engineer Minifigures™.  The team also re-designed white LEGO® rockets to a burnt orange color based on the actual materials N.A.S.A. intends to use.  Historically, rockets may have been painted white for aesthetic reasons, but the extra coat of paint adds unnecessary weight.  The collection became available around the rest of the world on June 1st and will become available in North America on June 23rd.

 

LEGO® CITY Mars Exploration Sets

Set Name Set Number Description List Price
Satellite Service Mission 60224 Sets includes a one-man space shuttle with a cockpit that opens for a Minifigure™ astronaut and a satellite with opening solar panels $9.99
Rover Testing Drive 60225 Set includes a Mars Rover and equipment such as a laptop computer, video camera, remote control, and rock drill $29.99
People Pack – Space Research and Development 60230 This set of 14 Minifigures™ represents all the professions that make outer space exploration possible: 7 astronauts, a rocket engineer, a mechanical engineer, a botanist, a drone engineer, a camera operator, and a reporter.  The set also includes a robot. $39.99
Mars Research Shuttle 60226 Set includes a shuttle, Martian geodes that can be stored in a drone preparatory to placing them in the shuttle’s cargo bay $39.99
Lunar Space Station 60227 Set features three detachable, modular compartments that recreate life at a space station with kitchen, living area, and research lab $59.99
Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control 60228 Set includes a monorail to send astronauts to the multi-stage Space Launch System (S.L.S.) rocket and prepare for launch by adding a mobile device and companion LEGO® CITY Explorers app to simulate an interactive control panel $99.99
Rocket Assembly & Transport 60229 Set includes a multi-stage rocket, rover lab, assembly frame building with crane to launch the rocket, and transport crawler $149.99

 

Hands-On LEGO® Space Activities

The LEGO® Group stated, “LEGO Stores around the world are planning activities to engage families in creative play designed to inspire their awareness and interest in space exploration.”  In North America, LEGO® Stores started to host Build & Play spaceship games on Monday, June 3, 2019 and will continue to do so through Sunday, June 30, 2019.  LEGO® Stores will host weekly Build & Play prompts related to Mars exploration from Monday, July 1, 2019 through Tuesday, July 30, 2019.  In London, Berlin, and Paris, larger-scale events are planned from the 23rd through the 26th of July.  For more information, visit www.LEGO.com/stores.

The LEGO® Group stated, “The company knows children of all ages love to explore a passion for space exploration through building, producing building sets that have been among their recent top sellers among older audiences. Fans can explore the professions of groundbreaking women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics with LEGO Ideas Women of NASA. Budding astronauts can display and role-play with the majestic three-foot high LEGO brick replica model of the NASA Apollo Saturn V, which powered the Apollo missions. The LEGO Creator Shuttle Transporter offers a 3-in-1 building opportunity.”

The LEGO® Ideas Women of NASA (Set #21312) is comprised of four Minifigures™ that represent four women who have played important roles at N.A.S.A. – astronomer and educator Nancy Grace Roman (1925-2018); computer scientist and entrepreneur Margaret Hamilton; astronaut, physicist, and entrepreneur Sally Ride (1951-2012); and astronaut, physician, and engineer Mae Jemison – and three builds (constructs) that illustrate their areas of expertise.  Margaret Hamilton’s build features a stack of book elements that represents the books of listings of Apollo Guidance Computer onboard flight software source code she and her team developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969. Nancy Grace Roman’s build features a posable Microscale Hubble Space Telescope and a projected image of a nebula.  Sally Ride and Mae Jemison’s build features a Microscale launchpad and Space Shuttle Challenger with three removable rocket stages.  The set also includes printed nameplates for each of the four women for display purposes and a booklet about the four women and the fan creator and LEGO® designers who made the set. The list price of this set is $24.99, but the set is becoming hard to find.  In the U.S.A., call the LEGO® Catalog at 1-800-453-4652 to check availability.

In June of 2017, The LEGO Group introduced the LEGO® NASA Apollo Saturn V rocket (Set #21309) in the LEGO® Ideas theme.  Products in this theme are designed by fans thirteen-years-of-age-and-older and then fans (thirteen-and-over) all over the world can vote on designs they want to see brought to market.  If a proposal receives 10,000 votes or more, within a certain time frame, a review panel at The LEGO® Group will examine the proposal and it may become a real product.  It measures over 39” (100 cm) high and 6” (17 cm) in diameter.  The rocket is about 1:110 scale and features a removable S-IC first rocket stage with main rocket engine details, removable S-II second rocket stage with rocket engine details, removable S-IVB third rocket stage with the Apollo spacecraft and rescue rocket at the top of the whole spacecraft.  The set includes the Lunar Lander and Lunar Orbiter, three astronaut Microfigures that were new in June of 2017, and three stands to display the Apollo Saturn V rocket horizontally. It is comprised of over 1,900 pieces.  The set includes a booklet on the Apollo missions to the Moon and the designers of the set.  The list price is $119.99.  The set can be purchased online from the LEGO® Shop by clicking here.

The LEGO® Creator™ 3-in-1 set Shuttle Transporter (Set #31091) can be used to make (1) a space shuttle on a flatbed truck, (2) a helicopter on a truck, or (3) a car towing a caravan for a family vacation.  The set is named after the flatbed truck that carries the space shuttle.  When assembled, the space shuttle cargo bay opens and has a crane and a satellite the crane can release into orbit. The list price for this 351-piece set is $24.99.  The set is for children ages seven-and-over.  The set can be purchased online from the LEGO® Shop by clicking here.

31091_box5_v39Figure 3 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: The Shuttle Transporter (with shuttle) measures over 3” (10 cm) high, 11” (28 cm) long, and 4” (12 cm) wide. The Helicopter Transporter measures over 3” (8 cm) high, 6” (17 cm) long, and 1” (3 cm) wide.  The Car with Caravan measures over 1” (4 cm) high, 6” (16 cm) long, and 1” (3 cm) wide.

Space Rocket RideFigure 4 Credit: The LEGO® Group Caption: The Space Rocket Ride (Set #40335) is a free gift with a purchase of $99 or more[1]  at the online LEGO® Shop (www.lego.shop.com) and at LEGO® Stores[2] from June 4, 2019 through June 18, 2019 or while supplies last. There is a limit of one free gift per household.  This LEGO® Ideas set is the first free gift The LEGO® Group has given out to be designed by a fan.  It is a mock-up of the type of coin-operated ride that children ride at amusement parks, arcades, inside shopping malls, inside or outside grocery stores, and outside independent toy shops.

Credit: LEGO Access Caption: On last week’s episode of LEGO News, they profiled the LEGO® NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander Set and the LEGO® Ninjago Land Bounty Truck, and showed the LEGO® Stranger Things designer video.

ENDNOTES

[1] The merchandise must be $99 or more, taxes, shipping fees, and the purchase of gift cards do not count.

[2] The offer is not available at the gift shops at LEGOLAND® theme parks and LEGOLAND® Discovery Centers.

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