Toy, Space Shuttle, Lights & Sounds, Brio

Display Status:

This object is on display in the Moving Beyond Earth exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

This Brio Space Shuttle toy reinterpreted the familiar reusable space vehicle in the process of making it playable for young hands. The nose, vertical stabilizer, and delta wings reflect the original vehicle's white coloring. However, the rest of the orbiter has been created out of natural wood with decals to suggest features and translucent blue plastic payload bay doors. The astronaut figures that are included are scaled for grasping and play, not realism. In addition, the figure rides, unrealistically, in the open cockpit or inside the payload bay.

Grooves inside the payload bay and out the back hatch suggest that this toy may have come with a rover or other wheeled vehicle to drive in and out of the orbiter -- an impossibility for an orbiting (not landing) spacecraft.

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.