Deep Space Rocket & Launch Control (60228) Review

I love LEGO® space exploration sets. The summer 2019 wave of City kits focused on this theme. Given these facts, I have been slowly building my way through the selection. This week, I have the Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control (60228) set to share. It is the second largest set from the series, and the second to come with a large rocket. Ever since I first heard about these sets, I questioned the need for two major rockets. Let’s see how this kit holds up.

NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review purposes. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use my usual rating system (click here to learn more), and provide my honest opinion.

Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control box art.
Deep Space Rocket & Launch Control box art.

Deep Space Rocket & Launch Control (60228) Summary

  • NAME: Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control
  • SET #: 60228
  • THEME: City
  • COST: $139.99 CAD
  • BRICK COUNT: 837
  • MINIFIGURE: 6
  • RELEASE DATE: June 23, 2019
Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control box art.
Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control box art.

Deep Space Rocket & Launch Control (60228) Quick Review

  • VALUE: 71% (Not a terrible value where City sets are concerned.)
  • BUILD: 75% (Fun build, but lacks detail in key areas.)
  • MINIFIGURES: 86% (Redundant characters, good accessories and brick:fig.)
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 90% (Not my favorite set, but kids would like it.)
  • OVERALL SCORE: 81%
Box Contents
Box contents

Deep Space Rocket & Launch Control (60228) Review

VALUE: 71%

The Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control set retails for $139.99 in Canada. With 837 pieces, the kit has a cost-per-brick of $0.17. That is above my current average of $0.14 per brick. Consequently, I rate the value-per-brick at 70%. Overall, $0.17/brick is not terrible where City sets are concerned. It is actually average for the theme, which tends to be pricier.

Roller Coaster tracks.
As if launching into orbit in a rocket wasn’t enough, now you have to ride a roller coaster to even get to the rocket!

As for build time, I put the whole set together in 140 minutes (two hours and twenty minutes). At full price, that equates to $1.00 per minute of build time. Given that my average cost-per-minute is currently $0.84, this kit earns 72% as its build-time score. Subsequently, averaging this with the cost-per-brick gives Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control a value score of 71%.

Service Robot.

BUILD: 75%

Earlier on, I reviewed the Rocket Assembly and Transport set (click here to read it). One of my major issues with that kit was its confused identity. I felt that the set tried to be too many things at once, ultimately sacrificing detail in any one build. Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control is truer to its name, and has less of a coherence issue. However, it still has a couple of needless builds that detract from the rest of the set.

This ground transport was a disappointment.

Firstly, there is a strange ground transport vehicle with a mechanical arm attached. These Mars exploration sets have gone a little overboard with the orange mechanical arms. It feels like there was a mandate to include one in every set, and in Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control, it feels really forced. This vehicle is a total waste of bricks, and it does not even look nice.

Engineer Minifigure from Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control.
Engineer Minifigure.

Secondly, there is a 6×6 plate with a few random bricks thrown on. The two-geode pieces go on this plate as well. I do not understand the need for a small sampling terrain at the launch pad. This goes back to the issue suffered by Rocket Assembly, and many other large city sets. Needless add-ons sacrifice detail in the main builds. Thankfully, in this set, there is not too much of that.

Needless add-ons sacrifice detail in the main builds.

Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control launch pad.
Welcome to the launch pad.

The deep space rocket itself is a nice build. The rocket is modular, and simulates reality pretty well. The booster rockets separate from the main thruster. The thruster in turn separates from the cargo bay, which detaches from the small shuttle. The shuttle can fit two astronauts, but it is a little trickier than I would like to get them inside. Taking off the whole nose cone allows you to remove the cockpit roof. This make the cockpit a little structurally unsound and it falls apart easily.

The cockpit is a little structurally unsound.

The launch pad is not very detailed, but it does have an interesting play feature. Lifting the rocket off the pad causes the rocket support struts to pull away from the sides of the rocket. I quite like that, and I think a younger version of myself would have gotten a kick out of it during play. Sadly, there is no way for astronauts to reach the top of the rocket. Fewer pointless (and ugly) builds frees up bricks for realistic details like a lift or stairs.

Deep Space Rocket launching.
When the rocket lifts off, the support struts fall away.

The final build in this set is launch control. This portion has a lot of play value. Unlike many other City theme buildings, this one features a closed design. It swings open on hinges to allow interior access. Alternatively, you can remove the front window portion with ease. The main screen has the built in play features of a countdown, and a changing view screen. Both of these work by moving nobs on the rear of the building. Despite having walls all around, launch control is still open to the elements. For play purposes, that is probably not a biggie. However, for display, I find myself wishing for more detail again.

Launch control has a lot of play value.

Launch control.
Launch control.

This building also features a rail system to bring astronauts to the rocket. It consists of roller coaster tracks and cars. Again, I feel like this is probably fun for playing, but as an adult I do not think that I really like it. It limits this set to a tabletop, and not even a small corner of one. It also makes the set hard to move around because there is no brick-built structure to support the tracks. They just sit on the table. The last time I got tracks like this was in the Pirate Roller Coaster. The whole structure was sturdy; picking it up and moving it was easy (click here to read more about the Pirate Roller Coaster).

Inside launch control.
Inside launch control.

To summarize, I think the ground vehicle is a complete flop. I did not need the sampling terrain either. The rocket is nice, though the cockpit needs a redesign. I also like launch control. I am on the fence about the roller coaster transport though. The kid in me likes it; the grown-up thinks it is a little dumb. I am not a fan of pointless, ugly builds, so this kit loses a point there. I also wish that the launch pad had stairs, or an elevator. Another point is lost there. The rocket is nice, so I will only deduct half a point for the cockpit design. Overall, I rate the build for Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control at 7.5/10 (75%).

Inside launch control.
Inside launch control from another angle.

MINIFIGURES: 86%

There are six Minifigures included with Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control. All of them come with the standard Minifigure parts, as well as front and back torso printing. Additionally, three of them have double-sided faces, and three have leg printing. These characters are not particularly original. Incidentally, I am noticing a considerable overlap in terms of characters in this Mars Exploration sub-theme. Based on design alone, I rate these Minifigures at 66/90 (73%).

Along with the Minifigures, you also get a number of accessories. There are two geodes, a wrench, a circular saw, a printed tablet, three printed computer tiles, two oxygen tanks, two desktop computers, a magnifying glass, and a printed computer brick. Those bring the design score up to 80/90 (89%).

With 837 pieces in the kit, you get a brick-to-Minifigure ratio of 140:1. That is slightly below my current average of 149:1, earning this set a score of 82%. Averaging this ratio score with the design score gives Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control an overall Minifigure rating of 86%.

Satellite build.
Oops… forgot to mention that you also build a little satellite.

ENTERTAINMENT: 90%

This is not my favorite set as an adult collector. I like the rocket, and I can see myself displaying it for a while alongside other LEGO® rockets that I own. However, disassembly for parts is the fate of the rest. This set comes with a number of really interesting parts that have great MOC potential. I would normally rate a set that I plan to repurpose at about a 3/5. However, since I like the rocket I will give it 4/5 (80%).

Deep Space Rocket.
Deep Space Rocket.

From a kid’s perspective, Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control is probably a fun set. I know I would have loved it. There are a number of fun play features as well. While I do not care for the roller coaster set-up as an adult, I can see myself having appreciated it as a kid. This set earns a KFOL score of 5/5 (100%). The average of the KFOL score and the AFOL score gives an overall entertainment rating of 4.5/5 (90%).

Deep Space Rocket.
Deep Space Rocket.

OVERALL SCORE: 81%

I built Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control a while ago. However, it took me a long time to write this review. The set has been sitting on my desk. I took a long time partly to contemplate how I really felt about the set, and partly because I was unmotivated to write about this set. Other sets I cannot wait to write about. Deep Space Rocket was not one of them.

As far as City sets go, it is not a bad price. However, when compared with LEGO® sets in general, it is not a great value. The build is ok, but could use more detail in certain areas. As far as the Minifigures are concerned, you get a bunch of theme-redundant characters, but a good selection of accessories and a decent brick:fig. My concluding thoughts on this kit are that it is great for play, or great for MOC parts. Make sure you let me know what you think in the comments below, or shout out on social media.

Until next time,

-Tom

What do others think?

Brick Insights is an awesome site that aggregates LEGO® set review scores from around the web. Based on their statistics, you can see what other reviewers think of the Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control set below.

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