Lego Space Shuttle boldly goes where NASA can't

We've sent monkeys, humans, and even phones into space, so why not a space shuttle made out of Lego? That was what Raul Oiada and Steve Sammartino set out to do on December 31st 2011. They successfully launched a Lego space shuttle with a budget of around $1,000.

The launch took place in Germany, with the shuttle strapped to a 1,600g meteo balloon filled with helium. A GoPro Hero camera was used to capture the action, and Spot GPS used to track the progress. In the end, the shuttle made it up to 35,000m. To ensure that the Lego shuttle could survive the 200km/h winds, Raul and Sam had to superglue the model together.

The pair note the cheap cost of putting the project together, noting that even ten years ago, the budget would have been around much greater. Steve Sammartino said:

The rig was really cheap – less than $1,000. Which 10 years ago might have been$ 100,000 (Including GPS trackers, HD camera capable of surviving space conditions et al. Add to this that without the web (Skype, Paypal, Youtube, GoPro, cheap GPS) none of this could have happened, and it is a great story about the world coming together and technology being a bridge to democracy and collaboration. Like minds living worlds apart finding complementary skills – this is the kind of world I want to live in.

What's next for the duo? They're planning an even bigger project, but right now it's shrouded in mystery. They're currently hoping to raise $20,000 for the project, and while details are scarce, they promise that it will be a "world first" and "make the participants famous".

[via Geeky Gadgets]