Lego has announced that it is releasing a set honoring key women in NASA history on November 1. The set includes four figurines molded in the likenesses of four women well known for their contributions to space exploration as figurines. Each figurine will also come with a backdrop related to their work at NASA.
One is Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. Ride also served on the committees investigating the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters. Ride will come in a 1980s training flight suit.
Nancy Grace Roman, known as the “mother of Hubble” telescope, is also included in the set. Roman was NASA’s first chief of astronomy. Roman is modeled as her 1959 likeness. Another is Margaret Hamilton, an engineer who wrote the guidance software for NASA, including for the Apollo 11 mission that put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon.
Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, is included in the set. Jemison is now involved with 100 Year Starship, an organization that aims to achieve interstellar travel in the next century. Jemison wears a 1990s space shuttle flight suit.
However, Katherine Johnson, an African-American mathematician and scientist crucial to some of NASA’s greatest advancements, chose not to participate. Johnson’s remarkable story of working on the Mercury and Apollo programs is told in the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. None of the scientists from that film are included in Lego’s new set.
The “Women of NASA” set was pitched by science editor and writer Maia Weinstock to the Lego Ideas initiative, where the company takes submissions for ideas on future toy sets. Submitters of the ideas chosen get a 1 percent cut of the sales and licensing revenue earned by the set. Weinstock’s submission got more than 10,000 votes. The idea was submitted in July 2016 and Lego confirmed production in February.
The 231-piece set will also include a posable Hubble Space Telescope and a launchpad with the Space Shuttle Challenger. The space shuttle even separates into its three stages. The $25 kit goes on sale just in time for the holiday gift-giving season.