09/02/2015 10:00 EDT | Updated 09/02/2016 01:12 EDT

Denmark's 1st person in space brings along 20 Lego astronauts

The Russian rocket that took a new crew — including Denmark's first astronaut — to the International Space Station this morning also carried a gift from the country's most famous brand: 20 Lego mini-figures. 

The little plastic astronauts will be prizes in a contest for Danish schoolchildren to produce videos about the country's mission in space, and share them on YouTube. 

"ESA and Lego Education have partnered together for this mission, and among other things, we are running a competition for Danish schoolchildren to tell a story about my mission using Legos," astronaut Andreas Mogensen said in a Reddit "ask me anything" interview.

"The 20 Lego mini-figures are part of the educational outreach and is one way that we hope to connect with younger children," he said. 

One of the toy astronauts has already made an appearance on Mogensen's Twitter feed during pre-launch preparations aboard the Soyuz in April. 

Another was launched on a rocket in March, although it was a much more modest rocket than the one that carried Mogensen into orbit. 


This isn't the first time Lego bricks have made it to space. Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa built a Lego model of the ISS on the station itself in 2012. 

Three ISS crew members who were aboard earlier this year took customized Lego mini-figure versions of themselves created by the U.K.-based company