LEGO has unveiled the final design and details for the next LEGO Ideas model, 21312 Women of NASA, ahead of a November 1 on sale date.

Based on a design by LEGO Ideas user and science writer Maia Weinstock, this product presents four figures from NASA’s history books. The inspirational lineup includes  Nancy Grace Roman, Margaret Hamilton, Sally Ride and Mae Jemison, who each played a critical role in landmark space missions.

Weinstock’s design has been enhanced by the LEGO designer/s assigned to bring her concept to life, refining the element selection, colour palette and overall composition of the proposed model. I’m particularly impressed by the clever and economical use of elements, used here in unusual ways. Take, for example, the use of the trash can element, here forming part of the Hubble Space Telescope casing. Space trash, cool! The  use of a  minifigure robot claw-hand as a connector for the telescope solar panels is also sweet.

An interesting development

Weinstock’s original design included Katherine Johnson, the brilliant mathematician who has recently achieved a level of overdue recognition through Hidden Figures, a non-fiction account of her career by Margot Lee Shetterly subsequently released as a movie of the same name.

However, the final design revealed for 21312 Women of NASA omits Johnson. LEGO Ideas staff noting (in responses posted to comments about the reveal) “in order for us to move forward with a partner we need to obtain approval from all key people which was not possible in this case. We naturally fully respect this decision.”

While this is a surprising outcome, Johnson (now aged 99) may have many reasons for not wanting to be included. That decision is, of course, hers to make and LEGO are right to respect those wishes. Regardless, LEGO has managed to adapt to this reality and still deliver a design bursting with character and appeal.

21312 Women of NASA – the finer details

Here’s the official LEGO product description:

Follow in the footsteps of 4 pioneering women of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration—America’s space agency) with this fun and inspiring LEGO® set. Build the Hubble Space Telescope and learn astronomy with the ‘Mother of Hubble’ Nancy Grace Roman. Develop the software for space missions with computer scientist Margaret Hamilton. And launch the space shuttle with Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, and Mae Jemison, the world’s first woman of color in space. Build, play, learn and one day you too could become a science, technology, engineering or mathematics superstar!

Product Image Gallery

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(All images copyright © 2017, the  LEGO Group.)

Pricing and availability

The set’s reasonably good value, retailing for $24.99 USD / $49.99 AUD, with 231 pieces and 4 new minifigures.

21312 Women of NASA is now available through the LEGO Shop online and via LEGO Brand retailers.

I can’t wait to purchase this model and I’ll aim to share a review in the future.

In the meanwhile, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the finalised design, so jot your reply below.