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U.S. Space and Rocket Center launches rocket preservation project

It'll cost $20 million to preserve the rockets at the space center.

Posted: Jun 11, 2018 6:22 PM
Updated: Jun 12, 2018 4:29 PM

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center launched a new campaign today raising money in an effort to keep its collection of historic rockets.

Since 1969, five different rockets have been a staple for people to see here at the space and rocket center.
Right now, crews are doing the structural analysis of the rockets, but it's going to cost millions of dollars to continue the preservation project.

"Payton gets super excited to see the rocket ship every time she's driving down 565," said Jennifer Cummings.

Jennifer Cummings brings her family to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center every time they visit, and thinks it's a good thing to save a piece of history.

"I think it's a staple of Huntsville. It's what Huntsville is known for. Everyone is all excited when they come to visit.

CEO/President of the rocket center Dr. Deborah Barnhart said the Saturn 5 replica will be the first rocket preserved. The plan is to have the rocket re-painted and ready to go by the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

"The Mercury Redstone and the Jupiter C will be restored first followed by the others. The Saturn one black two which served as the center's land mark for decades prior to the construction of the Saturn 5 will be completely be reserved as well as the Saturn 1B at the I-65 welcome center in Ardmore," said Dr. Deborah Barnhart.

The goal is to raise $20 million from community members through donations anD so far they have $200,000 for construction. However, during the structural analysis, crews noticed the spindles that hold the rockets are so loose they're starting to spin in place causing an unsafe structure.

"It'll be a good time to just hold them down. Put them on new substantial structural elements to hold them. At the same time, put them in a new place so people can find their way around," Barnhart said.

Part of the project is also moving all the rockets involved, so it creates a pathway explaining the history behind each one.

"It's very important. I think it'll pass along to future generations how we've come in the space race and how far we still have to," Cummings said.

The rockets have been re-painted and looked over in the past. But this is the first time for any structure updates.

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing is July 20th 2019.

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