LEGO® Set Review: 8480 Technic Space Shuttle
See also Ben Constable’s review
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Technic / Tech Build

Space Shuttle (us)
LEGO TECHNIC rumfærge (da)
Space Shuttle Colorado (uk)

Ages 11-16 67 pages/41 steps + 1 correction page for the Space Shuttle, 40/37 for submarine. ©1996
Price Range: 159 $US, from Lego S@H ($0.11/pc)
Special Features / Compatibility
  • Fiber-optic Lighting Bricks
  • 9v Motor
  • 9v Micromotor
  • Extra Elements
    • 1x2 Beam with 2 cross holes, White
    • Fiber Optic light unit
    • Fiber Optic light pipes
    • Changeover plate
    • Changeover catch
    Decals: Yes

    I like it!


    The main model is the Space Shuttle. It consists of a black frame/undercarriage and a white fuselage with a grey ‘Canadian’ arm and a yellow satellite. The alternate model is a submarine with a white exterior, black interior and a small motorized black/white exploring vehicle connected by a 9V connecting lead.

    The box shows several views of the Shuttle that are pretty much the same as well as a few close-ups on the flap. The cover has a 9V logo and a new holographic logo for the Fiber Optics.


    Each year the first thing I do when I get my first new Technic Set is to look in the catalog, usually in the parking lot of the store. When I saw this I thought “Wow! I am going to have to save up some money”. I like it even more now that I’ve built it.

    The model looks like the Space Shuttle, in as much as a Commercial LEGO set can, is pretty well designed and rather solid. It has a few minor design problems: I don’t like the 1x3 and 1x4 plates stabilizing the flaps (the Technic Prop Plane has much better flaps) and the wings need a bevel on the leading edge. However aside from these minor problems the rest of the design is quite well done.

    A yellow catch on one side of the wing controls the aerilons and a catch on the other side controls a novel mechanism for retracting the landing gear. The wheels lock in the down position by a shock absorber and pulley assembly in the nose.

    The fiber optic lights, the bay doors, and the 2 axis control of the arm is all controlled by a single 9V motor. The unfolding of the satellite wings are controlled by a 9V micromotor. The motor is connected through some red O-rings (alot of red O-rings in this model) to a transmission assembly almost exactly like the one in the Super Car. It uses 2 changeover plates to act as the shift pattern and a changeover catch to act as the shifter. Overall a pretty good way to control multiple functions with a single engine.

    The fiber optics are pretty well done. A light unit accecpts a crossaxle in its center and when the axle spins the LED in the box spins, lighting up 1 fiberoptic ‘pipe’ at a time.

    The overall model is very good, second only to the Super Car, (possibly the best LEGO model ever designed) and has more playability than any other Technic set I can think of.

    After I finished there were about 15-20 pieces left over, some of which are used in the alternate model, which I will never build. One curious thing was the plastic tray had a large center section (under the display tray) that had hardly anything in it. I kept thinking that they didn’t pack a bag or two of pieces, but as always everything was there.


    Set Rating:Excellent

    Model Rating:Excellent

    [Jim rated the Shuttle, which is the primary model, Excellent, while giving the secondary Submarine Model a Very-Good]

    Playability Rating:Excellent


    New Elements

    First there are new colors for older elements, including: And several relatively rare elements, including: And some new elements (See my Element Registry for pictures of these as well as most other Technic elements)


    None cover multiple bricks. There are separate decals for each model. Most indicate what function a switch controls. I don’t put decals on models. If the graphic is important it should be screened onto the piece by the manufacturer.
    Reviewer Information
    Reviewer Name Age (at review) E-Mail WWW Favorite Product Lines/Themes
    Jim Hughes 32 Technic


    This review is Copyright 1996, by the author [Jim Hughes] as named above.The author grants publication rights for all uses, public and private, with the following exceptions: all information in the document must be published in full; any for-profit use requires express written permission by the author for publication in full or in part.
    This is a fan created web site. LEGO® is a registered trademark of The LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site.
    All views expressed in the reviews on this site are those of the review author, and do not necessarily represent the views of Joshua Delahunty or the University of California.
    Set names and photos are copyrighted materials owned by The LEGO Group, used according to its Fair-Use Policy. Set photo scans courtesy of Pause Magazine.
    Background imagery supplied by and Copyright © Todd Lehman. Used with permission.
    3-D Element bitmaps supplied by and Copyright © James Jessiman. Used with permission.
    All product line and theme banner graphics hand-drawn (not scanned) and Copyright © 1996 Joshua Delahunty.

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