4098 - Spaceship Two . Spaceship Two alternate model made using parts from the 2003 Designer set #4098 "High Flyers" . Back in 2004 Burt Rutan's company, Scaled Composites, financed by Paul Allen, won the X-Prize for designing and building the first privately funded spaceship, Spaceship One. Following the success of the project, a new company was started by Richard Branson called Virgin Galactic to develop Scaled Composites' technology into a space tourism business to carry people up into space and back regularly.
The Virgin Galactic project has been moving forward ever since. There is a space port being built in New Mexico, USA, and right now (May 28, 2011), the new, larger Spaceship Two, named "Enterprise", has entered the testing phase, and a few hundred people have signed up to become astronauts in the near future.
My advice? Check it out…it's a cool project.
LEGO® set 4098 "High Flyers" is a set designed to make several different types of aircraft. The instruction book includes instructions for 10 different aircraft including helicopters, airplanes and spaceships. The booklet also has photos of 24 more designs for all sorts of planes.
Spaceship Two will be carried high up in to the atmosphere to about 50,000 to 55,000 feet by a "carrier" airplane named "Eve." From that point, it will be dropped and its rocket engine will carry it the rest of the way up into space. The two pilots and 6 passengers will then be able to experience weightlessness for 20-25 minutes while gliding downward, re-entering the Earth's atmosphere and landing on the same runway from which they took off a couple hours earlier.
To show some measure of support for Mr. Branson's project, I wanted to try my hand a making an alternate model of the new spaceship from the pieces in this set. The difficulty here lies in the piece selection and the difficult shape of Spaceship Two. Inevitable concessions had to be made, but I feel the overall model is a success. The basic form is there and the shape is recognizable. Furthermore, there is plenty of play value in this model, and it is fun to pretend that someday maybe I too could have a ride in the real thing.