If you’ve ever driven through Huntsville, AL, You have almost certainly seen this rocket or the Saturn V mockup while driving along US 72. This Saturn I rocket was brought to the rocket center from the Marshall Space Flight Center in 1969, along with an actual Saturn V inside the museum. You’ll also find the first American satellite, “Explorer 1”.
There are also mockups of various types for the Artemis missions. If you don’t follow NASA closely, you will hear much about the Artemis Program over the next few years. If you haven’t heard, We are going back to the moon! I posted the live YouTube feed at the bottom of this article. You may get lucky and catch a rocket launch while you read this.
Saturn V Rocket
The Saturn V rocket was assembled first, and then the museum was built around it. In 1999 a replica of a Saturn V was constructed upright outside the museum on the 30th anniversary of the first moon landing. It can be seen for miles at 363 feet tall. To appreciate the sheer size of these rockets, you need to go inside and walk under the horizontally mounted Saturn V.
Pathfinder made its way to the museum in 1988, where it was mounted on top of a test rocket booster—originally dubbed Orbiter. It was built in 1977 at the Marshall Space Flight Center and moved to Kennedy Space Center in 1977. It was used for testing and renamed Pathfinder.
International Space Station
An International Space Station mockup is also onsite, complete with scale models of some of the modules used to design the space station. You can also operate robotic arms. While roaming through the modules, I was a kid in a candy store. So much so that I forgot to take pictures. My girlfriend snapped this photo.
Many other things are available, such as private tours, underwater astronaut training, flight simulators, and much more. I loved the planetarium; it is a must-see. You can even take a VR trip on Apollo 11. Visit the Rocket Center’s website for more information. And the next time you find yourself in northern Alabama, you should check out the museum. If you are a space nerd, you should make the trip regardless.
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