Romanian youth launches model shuttle into space

Mar 20, 2012
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Raul, a Romanian teen, has sent the American space shuttle into space once more.  How?  Using a Lego replica.

The teen, who has prior experience with steam and jet engines–and even some rocketry–said in his blog that he had always been inspired by spaceflight but that “the Lego Shuttle was the only space program I could afford.”

After deciding to launch his Lego spacecraft operation, named “October Sky,” Raul needed to find an investor to help fund his project.  Raul contacted venture capitalist Steve Sammartino and explained his idea.  The two soon went in together on the project, with Sammartino handling materials and Raul designing the launch.

Raul rigged both the Lego spacecraft (held together by superglue to counteract the wind) and a video camera to a weather balloon.  Now he just needed to find someplace to launch it.  Romania’s regulations for flight clearance are pretty strict and can take a while to cut through the red tape, so Raul opted to find another country to launch from.  He settled on Germany, and at the end of last year, went there to try to put his Lego shuttle into space.

In what Raul describes as a “now or never” moment, the team was able to successfully launch the Lego shuttle into space on December 31st.  Watch the video of the shuttle’s flight below.

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Hannah Almeter

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