Last November, I posted an article about NASA and the LEGO Group literally sending LEGO Space Shuttles into orbit and now it’s finally happened.
NASA has posted an article about new experiments headed towards the International Space Station on today’s Shuttle flight and LEGO is a part of that:
A NASA educational payload will deliver several toy Lego kits that can be assembled to form satellites, space shuttles and a scale model of the space station itself to demonstrate scientific concepts, and a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency experiment called Try Zero-G that will help future astronauts show children the difference between microgravity and Earth gravity.
There is even an official NASA payload page for the LEGO sets:
The Lego Brick is widely well-known throughout the world. NASA partnering with this company makes the US space program highly visible to a new audience. The Lego Group has developed a whole new commercial line titled ?Lego Space City? that premiers in the US in early 2011. This new product features vehicles and models directly from NASA real-life vehicles. To accompany this, the Lego Group is launching a new website Lego Space that NASA will be able to link to. The release of new products, the website, and along with the supporting of future education, gives the space program a new boost and offers many possibilities for young students.
The Lego Group and Lego Education use the Lego Brick and Lego kits to teach fundamental Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics concepts to a variety of students worldwide. These educational activities are geared for students ages 4-18 and offer a unique setting for students to investigate topics such as forces and motion, simple machines, renewable energy, and robotics. The release of new products, the website, and along with the supporting of future education, gives the space program a new boost and offers many possibilities for young students.
There are 9 Lego Bricks kits flying on board ULF6. Each kit contains several models. There are 28 models total (varying in complexity). As per the 3-year Space Act Agreement, NASA provides the means and certification for these kits to fly aboard the ISS.
All Lego models must be assembled in the Maintenance Work Area (MWA) with containment system, with the exception of LC00-A (Duplo Bricks and Plate) and LC03-D (Lego Bricks ISS 2 Kit Living Interior). Crewmembers must build each model according to the building guides, but may improvise on the talking points. Video is downlinked at a later time to the ground crew, who in turn provides the raw video footage to the Lego Group. Lego Bricks pieces are then disassembled per crew preference and stowed back in the kit.
Once we start seeing photos and videos, we’ll be sure to post them.