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OV-103 Space Shuttle Discovery Overview
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overview of the Space Shuttle OV-103 Discovery project
About this creation
I have completely redesigned my space shuttle orbiter, which was my first post-dark ages Lego model. I've learned quite a bit about Lego modeling in the past couple of years and my shuttle sorely needed an update worthy of "The most complex flying machine ever built". The primary goals of this project were as follows:

1. Improve the model proportions to more closely match the shuttle (e.g. improved wing angles)
2. Greatly increase the functionality, detail, and complexity of the model
3. Reduce weight
4. Create a sturdy airframe that is assembled from separate modules rather than the traditional single unit integrated build

The orbiter was finished in 2004. The model is approximately minifig scale where 1 ft=1 stud.

This was definitely the most technically challenging Lego model I have attempted. The goal was to build model with as much detail and functionality as possible, yet also make it as lightweight as possible. Every piece used in construction was evaluated on it's function vs. weight. Thin wall panels were used extensively in the construction. I even used the newer style lightweight 9V motors. I have never weighed the model since I don't own a scale, but I'm guessing it is around 10lbs. The model is not fragile and can be handled easily.

My design was greatly aided by information and illustrations found in "Space Shuttle: The History of the National Space Transportation System" by Dennis R. Jenkins - probably the best book ever written on the subject.



Enlarge image
   This overhead view shows the major orbiter sub-assemblies: Forward fuselage and crewcabin, mid-fuselage, aft compartment, wings, cargo bay doors. They are connected together with technic pins.



Enlarge image
   Orbiter with gear extended.



Enlarge image
   This view shows the orbiter with the Forward Reaction Control module removed.



Comments

 I like it 
  March 23, 2014
Great work! I love the logic of your assembly and the details. Nicely done.
Spencer  R.
 I like it 
Dr. Monster
  November 22, 2013
Fantastic! Killer model, congrats on MOTD.
 I like it 
  November 22, 2013
That's cool!
 I like it 
  November 22, 2013
This is inspirational work! I am genuinely captivated by what you have done here. The way you have modularized the entire craft... amazing! And the fact that this is an improvement on an earlier effort. Well done. Attack!
 I like it 
  November 22, 2013
It looks really awesome ! 5/5 Congrats on MOTD !
 I like it 
  November 22, 2013
Congrats on Motd! Stunning model of the Discovery.
 I like it 
  August 12, 2012
Cool, and congratulations on MOTD!
 I like it 
  August 12, 2012
Wow! So much detail!
 I like it 
  August 12, 2012
awesome build!
 I like it 
  August 12, 2012
Congrats for MOTD, it's well deserved :) The shuttle model is awesome in every detail. Great work :)
 I like it 
  August 12, 2012
Awesome!
 I like it 
  August 12, 2012
OMG, thats incredible, such a well detailed replica.
 I like it 
  August 12, 2012
Amazing! 5/5
 I like it 
  June 9, 2012
WOW! 10/10
 I like it 
  February 25, 2012
This is the best space shuttle i`ve ever seen with LEGO
 I like it 
  June 27, 2011
Amazing job!
 I like it 
  October 10, 2010
THIS...IS..AWESOME!!...*faint*
 I made it 
  March 29, 2009
Quoting Steffen Kasteleiner I´m building a large 4-engine cargo jet for which the main landing gear is rather hard to integrate because of the aircraft´s low-sitting fuselage... Do you have any suggestions how I could keep the main gear functional and still approach it more to the fuselage?
I'm not sure I have a lot of useful advice since I haven't built very many aircraft models myself. You might want to check with someone more experienced like Ralph S. Anyway, for the shuttle, the details of the main gear are in the Wings and Main Gear section. I use click hinges to pivot the main shaft since they tend to be relatively stiff. However this won't keep the shaft from buckling when the vehicle is rolling. To fix that, I use a two-piece folding tension strut. By building the strut in two pieces it allows it to compactly fold back into itself when the gear is retracted. The total overall height of the stowed gear is then basically equivalent to the diameter of the tire. However the two-piece tension strut creates a buckling problem of its own since both upper and lower strut members are hinged on each end. I solve that problem by locking the upper section in place by sliding out two technic axles, one foreward and one aft of the upper strut. When I want to put the gear up I simple retract the locking technic axles, freeing the rotation of the upper strut.
 I like it 
  March 25, 2009
Hey Spencer, this looks amazing! So much detail you put in there - great stuff! I found this cause Michael Ford recommended taking a look at how you built the landing gear. I´m building a large 4-engine cargo jet for which the main landing gear is rather hard to integrate because of the aircraft´s low-sitting fuselage... Do you have any suggestions how I could keep the main gear functional and still approach it more to the fuselage? I´d be glad to get some help from you; since landing gear really poses problems for me - especially in this freighter design I´m working on. Thanks in advence in case you might help me! Best regards, Steffen
 I like it 
  January 10, 2009
excellent! really excellent! amazing! where did you get so much lego pieces?
Spencer  R.
 I like it 
Rtas 'Vadum
  August 24, 2008
I would rate it 4.5 due to no SNOT, but this is amazing anyway.
 I like it 
  May 11, 2008
Hey Spencer, I think that is one of the coolest models I've seen into a long time. I'm really into the large scale models of space ships! I just wanted to say that it is awesome. Also this may be a long shot, but you wouldn't have any plans to make some instructions on building your discovery model is there? I would love to build it! Email me and let me know! Thanks man!
 I like it 
  February 21, 2008
Awesome. Only more sharper nose + minifigs = perfect!
 I like it 
  March 17, 2007
I must say that this is definetly your best work and im sure you agree. As you pointed it it is incredibly complicated, and in my eyes one of the best models on MOCpages. The way you have incorporated so many details and functions into the shuttle and the fact that it is light weight (many modlers forget weight) hails you as a master of lego. Perhaps the aspect i like most is that you can easily take the model apart without damaging it to view the details yet still not fall apart when put back together. The exterior alone is outstanding. This model deserves a golden trophy and you should show it to NASA. Alex. P.S: Thanks for labelling all the modules and stuff.
 I like it 
  January 5, 2007
FANTASTIC! This looks 9 times better than the lego set design. The design is so sophisticated and has so much detail, it is just amazing.
 I like it 
  September 30, 2006
YEWAYOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THET IS GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT'S THE BEST SHUTTLE I'VE EVER SEEEEEENNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 I like it 
  September 29, 2006
This is easily the best Space Shuttle I've ever seen, the shape and attention to detail is hypnotic!
 I like it 
  March 28, 2005
oooooo lala
 I like it 
  May 16, 2004
i have 2 give it a 5/5 because my uncle was on discovery:):):)
 
By Spencer R.
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