Christoph Ruge’s model of the orbiting outpost recorded its 10,000th vote on Friday (April 3) after being posted to the Danish toy company’s social website, LEGO Ideas, more than a year ago. Ruge’s plastic brick replica of the space station racked up its final 2,035 supporters in a matter of just 10 hours after it made it onto the front page of another popular website.
“Please support the project so we can all have a little ISS in our homes and/or office cubicles,” Monitor343, a Reddit member, wrote in his appeal to readers of the site’s Space community. [LEGOs and Space Travel: A Photo Gallery]
LEGO will officially review fan-proposed ideas for production if they receive 10,000 votes on the LEGO Ideas site.
The project’s soaring support came within 26 days of its expiration. Interest in the space station model grew slowly until last month, when it finallyreached the halfway mark of 5,000 votes. Along the way, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) — partners aboard the actual space station — gave Ruge’s idea a boost by sharing it with their social media followers.
“A space station design is up for LEGO community fans to vote on,” NASA wrote on Twitter in November.
Ruge also had the chance to talk about and show off his model at ESA’s European Astronaut Center, located near Cologne, Germany.
“Beginning the [March 21 SpaceUp] event with a talk by veteran astronaut Reinhold Ewald and a live tweet from space by ESA astronaut Samantha Christoforetti set the bar high,” the space agency described on its website. “It continued to be raised even higher … [by] both giant and miniature International Space Station models built out of custom LEGO bricks.”
Ruge’s large model, as posted on LEGO Ideas, recreates the International Space Station in its current configuration, including all of its U.S., Russian, Japanese and European modules. Built from slightly more than 1,000 LEGO bricks, it features rotating solar arrays, an articulated robotic arm and visiting vehicles that can dock to the outpost.
Ruge’s model, if approved for production, will be LEGO’s first replica of the complete International Space Station to be offered for sale. In 2003, the company, in partnership with the Discovery Channel, sold a 162-brick set of the orbital laboratory based on its then-still under construction configuration.
The real space station was declared complete eight years later in 2011. The orbiting complex has been staffed continuously by a series of rotating crews since November 2000.
Ruge’s station is only the fourth model of a real spacecraft to qualify for review. Two earlier ideas, Japan’s Hayabusa asteroid sample probe and NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover, entered production and were sold. The third, a fan-created version of the Hubble Space Telescope, was not approved by LEGO.
The International Space Station model will be reviewed beginning in May. Other qualifying projects to be reviewed alongside it include a medieval marketplace, a Douglas DC-3 airliner, a Tyrannosaurus Rex and Elsa’s Ice Palace from Disney’s animated movie “Frozen.”
According to its website, LEGO will announce the results of the review in September. If the space station is given a “go,” then it will enter a several-month development phase during which LEGO’s own designers will work to refine its construction and prepare it for release.
– Current configuration (without Nauka – will be subject to upgrades soon!)
– Modular concept: You can freely reconfigurate the station to your own ideas (might come with additional pieces to cover upcoming upgrades of the original station)
– Comes with 2 Soyuz and 2 Progress capsules
– Including astronauts and cosmonauts minifigures
– Turn the solar panels to always catch the best sun!
– Turn the radiator elements to best shade the habited modules and get rid of their heat
– Reconfigure the ELC racks to your needs
– Grab spare parts from the ESP racks
– Control the famous Canadarm to manoeuvre equipment and support the astronouts
– Attatch the OBSS to the Canadarm to do inspections of the stations hull
– Attatch the Dextre to help the Canadarm doing it’s work
– Upgrade the station along with the upgrades of the real one
– Play the building of the station – that was quite some re-arranging to do!
– Soyuz/Progress capsules can now be departed into the three components of these vessels. Play return to earth with them!
– Featured model size: XL slightly more than 1000 pieces (stand not included. would be feasible, but ugly. probably best, to hang it from the ceiling)
– Alternative sizes: S and M (see below)
POSSIBLE EXTENTIONS (for illustration):
– A Space Shuttle based on the deceased model 3367 (but heavily modified) could be attached to the PMA-Docking port (like the real one used to do)
– The Hubble space telescope is possible in the same scale (fits in the Shuttle’s cargo bay)
– As it turns out, the rocket of set 3368 can be used to lift the Soyuz capsules to the ISS
– MIR and the upcoming Chineese Space Station may be included in the manual. There are enough bricks to build them alternatively!
– expect more to come!