The new space race has everyone excited for more powerful rockets, treks to Mars, and everything in between. For your friends and family caught up in all this excitement, we have these excellent gift recommendations to share.
Not since the Cold War has interest in space and spaceflight been so intense. Not a day passes anymore without something cool happening in this area, whether it’s mind-boggling new images from the Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s ongoing exploration — and manipulation — of space, and all the amazing accomplishments made by SpaceX and other private ventures. The good news is there are plenty of gift options for the space nut in your life, including yourself.
SpaceX Falcon 9 model rocket
SpaceX fans will lose their minds over this amazing 1:100 scale flying replica of the company’s iconic Falcon 9 rocket. Sold by Estes Rockets, the Falcon 9 model features accurate silkscreened markings, a custom display stand, and removable plastic fins for stable flight. The model, with a realistic Crew Dragon on top, can fly with the assistance of an Estes engine, allowing your space fan to launch the rocket to heights reaching 90 metres. Estes also has a scale model of NASA’s Space Launch System, which is also capable of flight.
Apollo Remastered: The Ultimate Photographic Record
This stunning hardcover book by space photography enthusiast Andy Saunders casts NASA’s Apollo missions in a completely new light. Packed with over 400 images, Apollo Remastered (chronicles the Apollo era in vivid detail, a result of Saunders’s meticulous digital reworking of pre-existing images and film taken from the NASA archive. The book, published in October and featuring some unseen images, will be of interest to even the most discerning of Apollo junkies.
More historical spaceflight reads
Readers with an interest in spaceflight history will also enjoy Beyond: The Astonishing Story of the First Human to Leave Our Planet and Journey into Space (by Stephen Walker. For a more fictional take on this era of spaceflight, do check out the Cold War thriller The Apollo Murders, by retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.
LEGO is the way to go
There is no shortage of options when it comes to LEGO, whether the spaceflight fan in your life is a child or an adult. The LEGO City Space Mars Research Shuttle (is good for kids over the age of 5, and it includes a very cool Mars rover and Mars-exploring minifigs. The LEGO City Space Lunar Space Station (is totally adorable and great for kids above the age of six. LEGO City Rocket Launch Centre (for kids aged 7 and up, is a bit steep in terms of price, but it nicely emulates NASA’s Space Launch System rocket. Other smart options include the LEGO City Lunar Roving Vehicle (and Space Mining Mech).
LEGO for the kids at heart
Older kids and adults will get a kick out of the NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander, Saturn V rocket, International Space Station and NASA Space Shuttle Discovery, the latter of which is “the most detailed LEGO Space Shuttle to date,” according to the company. It even comes with a LEGO Hubble Space Telescope.
Sally Ride quarter
This beautiful one-of-a-kind ornament quarter went on sale in August, and it’s limited to just 5,000 pieces. The quarter, sold by the U.S. Mint, features Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman to reach space. Given the limited supply, you might want to move fast on this one.
Why Am I Taller?: What Happens to an Astronaut’s Body in Space
Space, as scientists are increasingly learning, is very hard on the human body. In Why Am I Taller? (authors Dave Williams (a doctor and former Canadian Space Agency astronaut) and Elizabeth Howell (a staff writer at Space.com) explore the various ways in which spaceflight changes the body. In addition to detailing detrimental health effects such as excessive exposure to radiation, bone and muscle loss, and cellular damage, the authors explore potential medical solutions to these serious problems. This book will be of interest to anyone who’s curious about living in space and the types of issues we’ll have to deal with as we set our sights on Mars and other celestial destinations.
Life in space
Readers with similar interests will enjoy Back to Earth: What Life in Space Taught Me About Our Home Planet―And Our Mission to Protect It by retired NASA astronaut Nicole Stott and Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars: The Story of the First American Woman to Command a Space Mission by retired NASA astronaut Eileen Collins.
Sweet SpaceX merch
Elon Musk’s SpaceX has captured the imagination of millions, many of whom will want to showcase the company’s achievements in the form of clothing and accessories. The SpaceX spacesuit onesie is impossibly cute, while the Crew Dragon schematic t-shirt and Starship pullover hoodie are nerdy as hell and absolute must-haves. The t-shirt with the SpaceX logo at back is sleek, simple, and fun. The company also offers posters, hats, mugs, keychains, and stickers .
Neat NASA merch for the Artemis era
Anything with NASA’s logo emblazoned on it is instantly cool, but the space agency is heading back to the Moon through its Artemis missions, thereby introducing an entirely new set of merchandising possibilities. The NASA shop is filled with eye-catching items, such as the Artemis 1 logo t-shirt, the Artemis hat, and Artemis hoodies. NASA’s Moon Tie is super cool, as are the One Giant Leap Socks and the flight suits for babies.
Webb Space Telescope models
The recently launched Webb Space Telescope is among the coolest things that has happened to astronomy in decades. Model builders will want in on the action, and thankfully some options are available. HouhaDesigns on Etsy has a Webb model kit that looks really good when finished, but requires some intermediate to advanced level modelling skills. 3DPros, also at Etsy, has a neat 3D printed version that’s easier to assemble. DreamGiftsTR has an incredible hand-made folding model available through Etsy. Though not LEGO, Sayotoo has a very sleek building block model of the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope, which is suitable for kids 10 and up.
Orbitrack satellite tracking app
Satellites are often visible from the ground, but rarely do we know what we’re actually looking at. Spaceflight fans wanting to know more about what’s flying overhead will want Orbitrack — an impressive satellite tracking app from Southern Stars. The app can be downloaded, making this a clever and useful digital stocking stuffer. Available for MacOS, iOS, and Android, Orbitrack tracks every orbiting satellite (including those recently launched) and also space debris and rocket boosters large enough to be seen from the ground.
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