With the Space Shuttles officially retired and the "Soyuz era" underway, the end of an incredible space program and iconic symbol didn't hit us until well into the weekend. As a tribute to the space vehicle, Lego's rereleasing its 1,000-plus Space Shuttle set.
Originally released in 2010 with 1,204 pieces and recommended for an audience aged 16+, Lego discovered that younger kids were building the Space Shuttle kit. As a result, Lego decided to reinforce and strengthen the fuel tanks and cargo doors, tweak the landing gear for use on more floor types, include wigs for astronaut figs (everybody knows they aren't bald underneath those sick helmets) and secure the secret satellite with a new sturdier arm.
The Space Shuttle set now includes 1,230 pieces of plastic brick awesomeness. The price of the set remains unchanged from last year's model at $100.
After hearing the news, I knew I had to do something. Back in 1995, I was gifted with a 539-piece Space Shuttle and Launchpad Lego kit. At the time, it was the best toy that ever existed (at least, in my eyes). Over the weekend, I dug up the old dusty and filthy pieces, painstakingly wiped them all down with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and got to work reconstructing my Space Shuttle (Launchpad didn't make it).
For the most part, I found all the pieces. Missing bricks were substituted with similar bricks and lost white-colored blocks were swapped with gray or black ones. The satellite that's hidden inside is missing half of its solar panels and the mechanical arm is a bust (lost most of the pieces), but it still looks as awe-inspiring as it did 16 years ago. It pales in comparison to Lego's new Shuttle set or even that 65,000-brick Space Shuttle in Japan, but it still holds up pretty well.
Purely for nostalgia's sake, what Space Shuttle memorabilia did you or do you own? Drop us your memories in the comments below. If you've got photos, post those too!