This van carried astronauts to the Space Shuttle for 27 years. Now, enough support could let it become an impressive Lego kit.
The NASA Airstream astronaut transfer van, better known as the Astrovan, submission to the Lego Ideas program looks out of this world, and if the kit gets enough votes, then the classic RV could have a place of honor on your bookshelf. With 541 supporters as of this writing, the set still has a long way to go before getting the 10,000 votes for the kit to be under consideration for production, but there are 422 days to go before needing to reach that figure.
Based on a 1983 Airstream Excella RV, the Astrovan transported astronauts the nine miles from the crew quarters at the Kennedy Space Center to the Space Shuttle and brought them back after a successful mission. It served this role for 27 years until the final shuttle mission on July 8, 2011, and racked up roughly 26,500 miles in that time, according to NASA.
On the inside, the Astrovan was more functional than luxurious. Folding bench seats lined each wall, and they featured lift-out section that held the space suits' ventilation units that circulated cool air around the astronauts until they reached the shuttle. "They plug that liquid air into you and it just blows this cool air throughout your suit, and it's really nice because it actually dries you," shuttle commander Chris Ferguson said in NASA's story recounting the vehicle's story.
The photos of this kit don't reveal whether it has a detailed interior, but the exterior looks amazing. While the real vehicle has a more rounded nose, the builder does an admirable job of getting the shape out of the blocky Lego bricks. Incorporating the red, white, and blue stripes on the sides is a nice touch. We can't wait to see whether this kit garners enough popularity to go into production because it looks like a perfect addition to the Lego lineup.