Lego Scrubs Fan-Created Saturn V Launch Tower, Space Shuttle in Review

lego ideas space shuttle saturn v tower
Fan-designed models of NASA's Saturn V launch tower and space shuttle will not become official Lego sets. (Image credit: Lego Ideas via

Lego won't be launching a fan's model of the space shuttle, nor will it be offering a launch pad for its popular Saturn V rocket set after rejecting both during a recent review.

The toy company on Monday (Jan. 22) announced it was passing on the space-themed projects as it reported on its review of sets that recruited 10,000 votes of support on the Lego Ideas website between May and September 2017.

"Today we must unfortunately share the difficult news that, following the thorough Lego Ideas Review, none of the 6 projects in review have been selected," wrote Lego Ideas community specialist Hasan Jensen in a blog entry (opens in new tab) posted to the website. "We understand that the news comes as a disappointment to project creators, who put in a big effort in creating and promoting [their projects], but also for the many passionate fans who helped bring the projects to the 10K milestone." ['Women of NASA' Lego Set: Q&A with Creator Maia Weinstock]

As a matter of course, Lego does not share specifics as to why each project was not approved. Some of the factors considered by the review include production capacity, build quality, playability, expected demand and brand fit.

Of the six projects set aside on Monday, two were themed around historic space hardware and both had a connection to a model of NASA's moon rocket released in 2017.

The "NASA Saturn-V Launch Umbilical Tower," created by Valerie Roche and Emmanuel Urquieta, from Paris, France and Houston, Texas, respectively, was based on the 398-foot-tall (121-meter) gantry that supported the Saturn V on the launch pad. Their set as proposed included the mobile launcher platform on which the rocket stood, and featured movable umbilical swing arms, elevator and crane.

“NASA Space Shuttle (Saturn V Scale)" by Andrew Harkins and the "NASA Saturn-V Launch Umbilical Tower" by Emmanuel Urquieta and Valerie Roche were rejected by the Lego review. (Image credit: Lego Ideas)

Andrew Harkins' "NASA Space Shuttle (Saturn V Scale)" recreated the winged spacecraft last launched in 2011. It was sized to match Lego's NASA Apollo Saturn V set co-created by Roche. The 3.28-foot-tall (1-meter), 1,969 piece Saturn V rocket is about 1:111 the scale of the real booster that flew astronauts to the moon almost 50 years ago.

Harkins' space shuttle qualified with 10,000 votes on Aug. 28, 2017; Roche and Urquieta's tower followed on Sept. 3, just a day before the deadline for projects to qualify for the now-completed review.

The two sets were not necessarily in competition with each other. Lego's review board evaluates projects separately. Past reviews have chosen one, two or, as with this case, none of the projects to be offered for sale.

The other sets rejected included a scale model of the NF-15B research jet aircraft, a "Star Wars" themed diorama, a project celebrating the "Wonders of Peru" and a model of Luke's Diner from the television show "Gilmore Girls."

Fan-created models of NASA's crawler-transporter, spacecraft and the International Space Station are in the top 40 on Lego Ideas as of January 2017. (Image credit: Lego Ideas via

Of the seven projects that qualified for a review between September 2017 and January 2018, none were spaceflight related.

Currently, there are three NASA-themed sets among the top 40 projects pursuing 10,000 votes on Lego Ideas:

  • a 1:110 scale model of the massive crawler transporter used to move the Saturn V and space shuttle to the launch pad;
  • a set of four small models of NASA spacecraft, including space shuttle Discovery, the Hubble Space Telescope, the Pioneer 10 interplanetary probe and the Viking 1 Mars orbiter and lander; and
  • another attempt at a model of the International Space Station, this time sized to match the space shuttle included with Lego's "Women of NASA" set released in November 2017. Lego rejected a larger version of the station, proposed by the same designer, in 2015.

Lego is also running a space-themed contest for a small to mid-size space-related model to possibly become a "gift with purchase" promotional set in 2019. The "Moments in Space" contest is open for submissions through Feb. 9.

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Robert Z. Pearlman Editor, Contributor

Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.