Collection Item Summary:
This set of rocket engine bells is a part of a buildable plastic Space Shuttle playset made by Tomy Toys of Japan. Rather than creating a unified orbiter, the set separated the vehicle into different components that could be assembled in various ways. The result was a versatile toy that could incorporate some or all of the pieces in play. The white main body and cockpit echo the original coloring and general shape of the actual reusable space vehicle. The blue plastic payload bay doors open in a way that includes the vertical stabilizer as a part of them. In addition, the distinctive delta wings are composed of separate pieces that can be added or not. The set also included a rover with a magnetic winch, two dish antennae, and two astronaut figures with a magnetic jet backpack.
Toys like this set represent the many ways that children could learn about the Space Shuttle Program through play. Whether or not the toy represented all aspects of the appearance and capabilities of an orbiter accurately, children could learn to name and identify winged and wheeled spacecraft as Space Shuttle orbiters.
Valerie Neal donated the toy to the Museum in 2008.