The Space Shuttle Discovery was the third of five reusable NASA orbiters, logging 39 launches and landings between 1984 and 2011—the most flights of any spacecraft in history. Perhaps its greatest accomplishment was the April 25, 1990 deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope ("HST") which revolutionized astronomy and astrophysics, particularly our understanding of the age and expansion of the universe. With characteristics of a rocket (for vertical launch) and a glider aircraft (for landings), space shuttles were the workhorses of America's space program at the turn of the 21st Century, and were critical to the construction and maintenance of the ISS (International Space Station).
Now you can build this iconic orbiter and imagine yourself a participant in its signature mission to further the work of exploration and scientific discovery in launching the Hubble telescope. Ugears' NASA Space Shuttle Discovery model is actually a remarkable three-in-one: orbiter, stand and satellite. The Shuttle is a 1:96 scale model of Discovery, with two cargo bays that open to reveal the HST model, which features movable solar panels and aperture door. The Shuttle's front and rear bays open independently, for storing or launching the telescope. To open the front cargo bay, turn the wheel near the cabin in the direction of the arrow marked "Open." A similar wheel on the tail section opens and closes the rear cargo bay. Place the telescope on the Shuttle's robotic arm for deployment, and spin the arm using a dial located on the belly of the orbiter.
The Shuttle's stand employs tensegrity (tensional integrity or floating compression), an elegant structural engineering design that allows the model to hover above the stand on thin fishing lines, as if floating free in space. A ratchet mechanism on the stand allows you to adjust the tension of the lines. You can change the pitch of the spacecraft up and down by hand, simply by pulling on the tension lines, or adjust the roll of the spacecraft left and right either by moving the stand by hand or using the stand's ratchet dial. Other functional elements of the Shuttle model include movable ailerons on the orbiter's wings, movable tail rudder, and retractable landing gear.
Your Discovery Shuttle comes with an informational plaque giving important facts about Discovery, and with permission from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the kit includes stickers with the orbiter's name, NASA "worm" logo and USA flag to place on the wings and side of the orbiter, to complete the authentic look.
Take a voyage to the stars with Ugears!