Lego fan renders Vulcan Centaur ahead of ULA rocket's debut flight

lego rendition of vulcan centaur rocket
A Lego rendition of ULA's Vulcan Centaur rocket, which is slated to fly for the first time in the first quarter of 2023. (Image credit: Jackson Armstrong (used with permission))

A Lego fan got an early start on launching a new rocket line.

Jackson Armstrong, who enjoys photographing rocket launches and building Lego models, rendered his own version of United Launch Alliance's (ULA) Vulcan Centaur rocket in brick form and shared the results on Twitter Sunday (Jan. 29).

"This design features the shiny new paint scheme and the payload fairing as it will appear on the first orbital flight," wrote Armstrong. That debut mission will loft two prototype internet satellites for Amazon's Project Kuiper, as well as the Peregrine moon lander built by the company Astrobotic

Armstrong did not share dimensions or details on his Lego build, which appears to exist only in computer-generated drawings for the time being. If he moves forward to a tabletop version, we'll be sure to let you know.

For all you space fans who love Lego, our best Lego space sets of 2023 page features NASA Lego recreations, spaceships, Marvel creations and more. Padawans may also enjoy the extensive and ever-growing set of Lego "Star Wars" kits to equip your journey to the light or dark side of the Force.

Related: Lego space deals: savings on spaceships, space stations and NASA kits

The real-life Vulcan Centaur rocket recently made it to Florida's Space Coast, arriving aboard ULA's RocketShip barge on Jan. 22. The rocket is now at ULA facilities in the region "for post-arrival inspections and the start of launch preparations," the company wrote in a statement shortly after the arrival. 

Launch is slated to take place from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in the next few months, if all goes to plan.

The (non-Lego) Vulcan Centaur is a 202-foot-tall (67 meters) rocket that will replace ULA's popular Atlas V and Delta IV rockets for commercial and government missions. Vulcan is equipped with a Centaur V upper stage and, depending on the mission, up to six solid rocket boosters. Its first stage includes two BE-4 methane-liquid oxygen engines built by Blue Origin

While Lego doesn't (yet) have an official copy of the Vulcan Centaur, it has used rockets before in its sets. A popular example is the NASA Saturn V rocket that launched astronauts to the moon; Lego's version included 1,969 pieces in honor of the Apollo 11 crew that touched down on the moon in 1969.

Elizabeth Howell is the co-author of "Why Am I Taller?" (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book about space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: