August 8, 2022

Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery review

Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery review
Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery reviewLego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery review

Essential info:

Average price: $199.99/£169.99

Model number: 10283

Pieces: 2354

Finished item dimensions: 9 x 14 x 22 inches

Recommended age: 18+

The Space Shuttle Discovery is an amazing feat of engineering, and we’re thrilled to say that the Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery kit is too! You can tell that a lot of time and care went into designing this kit. The attention to detail will make you giddy, from playing with the retractable landing gear to opening the payload bay and deploying the Hubble Telescope. From start to finish, the Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery is a joy to build and will be an impressive display piece for any home.

Part of the advanced Lego Creator Expert series, the Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery is aimed at more experienced builders. It’s recommended for those 18 or older, and we can see why as it’s got quite a lot of pieces, but this kit is perfectly suitable for patience older teens who are obsessed with all things space.

So, the really cool thing about this Lego Space Shuttle set is that it actually comes with two models – the Space Shuttle Discovery and the Hubble Telescope too. Not only that, but it comes with multiple display stands so you can choose to show them off individually or together.

But if the Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery set is a little out of your budget at $199.99/£169.99, consider the Lego International Space Station for $69.99/£59.99 instead – it comes with its own mini Space Shuttle Discovery! You can also check out Lego space deals guide for more great sets.

Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery: Build

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Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery - building in progress

(Image credit: Future)
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Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery - build in progress

(Image credit: Future)
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Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery - build in progress

(Image credit: Future)
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Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery - build in progress

(Image credit: Future)
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Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery - build in progress

(Image credit: Future)

With over 2,000 pieces, this is a big build that you can really sink your teeth into. The pieces were separated into bags labelled 1 to 17 (technically 18 bags total, as there were two number 2 bags). It took us about a week of evenings to complete (around 8 hours in total), but if you fancied powering through the Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery kit, it can be completed over an intense weekend. However, we advise that you treat this build as a marathon rather than a sprint. If you go too quickly, or build for too long, you’ll get tired and make mistakes… and as most of the pieces are white, you’ll want to keep your wits about you.

You start off by building the Hubble Telescope and then move onto the main event. As it’s a mostly symmetrical build, some people might find this a bit boring, but we found that they spaced out the repeated sections in a way that didn’t feel too repetitive – in fact, it felt more mindful than annoying. It was also really interesting putting together the clever mechanisms that make certain parts of the Space Shuttle Discovery move, such as the elevons on the wings.

One of the trickiest parts of the built was actually getting all the shiny, mirrored stickers onto the large, curved white panels. Lining them up can be a bit fiddly, but we found placing one edge of the sticker on the end of the little orange tool (the brick separator tool that comes with all Lego sets), and then lining this up against the edge of the panel made sticker placement much, much easier. This way if you start laying the sticker down and notice it’s at a bit of an angle, you can pull it back up again using the orange tool and not damage the sticker.

Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery: Design

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Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery on display

(Image credit: Future)
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Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery on display

(Image credit: Future)
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Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery with Hubble Telescope display pose

(Image credit: Future)
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Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery - close up of pay load doors with arm

(Image credit: Future)
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Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery - close up of pay load doors

(Image credit: Future)
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Hubble Telescope from Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery_7b

(Image credit: Future)
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Hubble Telescope from Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery

(Image credit: Future)
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Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery - back close up

(Image credit: Future)
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Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery - wing close up

(Image credit: Future)

Just look at it! This is one impressive model and it makes a fantastic display piece. However, the Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery isn’t just for show – there are several movable parts to play with. You can pop the landing gear out, deploy the robotic arm, even the split rudder is functional. One of our favorite details is that the cockpit opens up and you can see all the controls inside.

The only real negative thing we have to say about this kit is that there are no minifigures. Due to the size of the Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery, we understand that any included minifigs would not have been to scale, but it would have been nice to have a token astronaut anyway – maybe it could have stood next to the information placards that comes with each model.

Overall, the attention to detail is just amazing. For example, did you know that on the starboard side of the Discovery the American flag is actually backwards? This is because regulations require that the American flag must always fly with the stars forward so that the flag looks like it’s trailing in the wind.

That’s a fun tidbit that we gleaned from the instruction booklet, which is just as much a treat as it is building the model. It is packed full of fascinating facts about the Discovery and Hubble Telescope which adds to the building experience. The booklet’s pages have a black background as the majority of the pieces are white, which makes the instructions stand out and easier to see… however, this does mean that fingerprints really show up on these pages which will irritate perfectionists.

Should you buy the Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery?

Yes, yes you definitely should. It’s a satisfying build that will challenge you, but not to the point where you’re tearing your hair out. Plus, it’s one of the most beautiful and recognizable Lego builds out there. 

You don’t need to be a super NASA fan to know that this is one cool spaceship – every time you look at your completed Lego NASA Space Shuttle Discovery you’ll be filled with a sense of pride, plus it makes a great talking point. It’ll look good anywhere, once you find the space for it that is – at around 22 inches long, it’s quite a sizable model!

What other Lego space collection kits can you buy?

Relive the Apollo Moon missions with the rather impressive Lego NASA Apollo Saturn V ($119.99/£104.99). Those looking for something a bit cheaper will like the Lego NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander ($99.99/£89.99). And, of course, the best Lego Star Wars sets are always worth a look – fans of The Mandalorian won’t be able to resist the Lego Star Wars Razor Crest model.