You don't need a special Lego set to build a space shuttle or a rocket. But the right kit can be a great way inspire kids—or indulge your own geeky passions. Here are our favorite science and sci-fi Lego sets, which range from the simple and inspired to the absolutely ridiculous (we're looking at you, 7,500-piece Millennium Falcon.)
[Note: Some sets on this list are discontinued yet still available, and Lego retires sets frequently. We'll try to keep this page as up-to-date as possible.]
When Lego says a kit is "ultimate," it's not messing around. This new model of the Millennium Falcon, introduced in 2017, features more than 7,500 pieces and costs a whopping $800. The absolutely bonkers kit includes minifigures of Han, Chewie, Leia, and C-3PO, as well as Rey, Finn, and the older Han Solo from The Force Awakens.
"I love to play with Legos."
Whether you have a teenager looking to build more of a model than a toy, or you're itching to tackle a Lego build yourself, this Apollo Saturn V set isn't likely to disappoint. It has more than 1,900 pieces that should keep anyone busy for quite some time, and the finished meter-high model (with removable rocket stages) will make a great display piece for any space enthusiast. Naturally, the lunar lander and lunar orbiter are also included, along with three minifigures.
They may not be for everybody, but Lego's higher-end Ultimate Collector Series are famous for their challenging builds and display-worth models once completed. Intended for ages 14 and up, this Tie Fighter kit includes 1,685 pieces, and comes complete with a display stand and plaque so you can show off your hard work.
If the TIE fighter is not enough of a challenge, there's always the 4,000-piece Death Star model.
One of the best sets to come out of Lego Ideas was this collection that arrived in the wake of Hidden Figures and some long-overdue recognition of the women who played a key role in space and astronomy. The set came out in late 2017 to widespread acclaim. You can pose Nancy Grace Roman with the Hubble Space Telescope and next to the stacks of books that contained code she wrote for Apollo missions.
Part of Lego's Creator series, this 3-in-1 kit won't only let you make a reasonably faithful replica of the space shuttle (complete with working payload bay and robotic arm), but a moon station and rover when you're looking to try something new. That's done with 285 pieces, including one astronaut minifigure, and is intended for kids aged seven to twelve.
is the awesome service that lets Lego fans submit their own ideas for upcoming sets. If they get enough support, Lego will sell it—and this idea is truly otherworldly. This set is Doctor Who's Tardis (). And yes, the Doctor figurine even comes with the tiniest sonic screwdriver you've ever seen.
Another option for kids looking to build space shuttle model is this Space Port kit in Lego's City series. It includes all the pieces necessary to build not just the shuttle itself, but the fuel tank, rocket boosters and launchpad, as well as plenty of other objects and minifigures to populate the space port. But many of those are larger pieces, so it may not be quite the challenge that older kids are looking for (it's recommended for ages 6-12).
This is another one of those discontinued sets whose cost has slowly crept past its original price, but the design is so timeless and the mini Doc Brown and Marty McFly so perfect, it's worth the splurge.
A cool and underrated Star Wars kit is this one for the Jawa's sandcrawler, the big desert roamer that picked up the droids on Tatooine. Kids can use the crane arm to pretend to suck up R2-D2 into the vehicle.
This one might be for the avid collectors, but this NASA Curiosity rover set will send any space nerd's heart aflutter. With 295 pieces for ages 10 and up, you can Lego-ify one of NASA's biggest achievements of the 21st century. This rover comes with all the Mars exploring fixins, like a 6-wheel suspension, robotic arms, and multiple cameras. But the best part is that the rover was designed by an actually Curiosity engineer. Unfortunately, Lego has retired this set, but you can still find this item through third-party sellers—and at a slightly higher price.
Sure, the Space Needle is a very terrestrial creation, but it's classic saucer-like construction makes it space-worthy enough for this list. Lego packed Seattle's 605-foot architectural treasure into a compact 8.7 inches, and it's one of the more eye-catching builds from Lego's expansive architectural lineup. Although it's built for ages four and up, this is likely a better gift for an adult who's a kid at heart.