Huntsville Saturn 1b was scrapped

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alexzogh

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I didn’t realize they scrapped the 1b at the Huntsville US Space and Rocket Center

Video and original article are here: https://www.waaytv.com/news/alabama...cle_c2518b96-84c3-11ee-81c6-37f3487613e5.html

How Alabama's Saturn IB rest stop rocket ended up on the scrap heap, and where it's going now​

There was a shocking video circulating on social media showing North Alabama's beloved "rest stop rocket," the once mighty Saturn IB, crashing to the ground during demolition of the Interstate 65 welcome center near Ardmore, Alabama.
An upsetting end for a rocket destined for the stars, crushed and destined for the scrap heap.

Space enthusiasts cried, and cried foul! Why did they destroy an important relic of Rocket City history?
NASA historian Brian Odom, who works out of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center where the rocket was developed, says the Saturn IB was a workhorse for NASA's early test flights into low earth orbit for the Apollo program. It flew uncrewed missions to test critical hardware. It also flew the first fully-crewed mission, Apollo 7.

After the moon landings, which were accomplished with the Saturn V, the Saturn IB flew several missions to deliver astronauts to America's first orbiting space station, Skylab.
And, Odom says, it was the vehicle for the final Apollo mission - which became a symbol of Cold War cooperation between the USA and Soviet Union.
"The last flight of the Apollo program, a lot of people don't know that it was the Saturn IB as part of the Apollo Soyuz test project. You know, the 'Handshake in Space,'" Odom said.
So, how did it end up as a heap of scrap metal? Through interviews with NASA, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, and a local politician, WAAY 31 uncovers the rocket's shocking state of decay after over 40 years, how this happened, and what happened next.
"Well, it hurt. It really did,” said Larry Sortor.
Sortor speaks for a lot of space fans who were shocked and saddened to see Alabama's once proud rest stop rocket come to such a sad end.
"With good maintenance, I don't see why the Saturn IB at our tourist center here had to be taken down,” Sortor expressed.
For some more backstory, our Saturn IB was NASA surplus stock from the late sixties.
Owned by the Marshall Space Flight Center, it was loaned to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center for display in the late seventies.
They set it up at a new welcome center rest area, along southbound Interstate 65, just over the state line.
It stood as a nearly 200-foot-tall symbol of the burgeoning aerospace industry taking hold in the deep red clay of North Alabama. And it worked!
"We would picnic under the rocket when I was a child," said State Rep. Andy Whitt.

Whitt loved the rocket and all it stood for.
"You know, it's more than just cotton fields here! And when you crossed into the state of Alabama and you saw that rocket, children began asking questions. They wanted to know more about it," said Whitt.
He led the charge to leave it up, to fix it up, and to follow up when it was finally decided, it had to come down.
It was tragic in the end, but not at all unexpected by those who built the rocket.
Acting director of Marshall Space Flight Center, Joseph Pelfrey, says he understands the passion and pride the Saturn IB represented for the community.
"But our legacy is our people,” said Pelfrey. “It's the people that have worked on these missions, that have poured their expertise, that have given their family time. That's the legacy that we have here in Huntsville."

NASA doesn't get too attached to hardware. Rockets aren't built to be around very long.
"Usually when we design a rocket, we design them, at most maybe, to sit exposed for a year, and then we launch it. It works for, you know, two to eight minutes depending on the vehicle, and then we're done with it," said Pelfrey.
This brings us back to our Saturn IB, which stood outside in the rain, wind, heat, cold and snow for more than 40 years.
That's why the corroded interior structure of the rocket broke apart during deconstruction. We showed the video of this to Odom.
"Geez! I hadn't seen that," said Odom.
Despite its obvious historical significance, he believes removing the rocket was the right decision.
"That hardware is thin by design. It's meant to be lightweight. Rigid but lightweight, with materials that aren't meant to last in the elements for a long time," explained Odom.

After getting a good look at the damage, Whitt was moved to the same conclusion.
"Really surprised that it hadn't already fallen, to be quite honest with you," said Whitt.
1, responsible for maintaining the Saturn IB, told me issues that affected it "could not have been prevented by routine maintenance." In a statement they also said, "structural integrity was compromised" making the rocket's stability "unpredictable."
Now that it's gone, what's next?
For fans like Sortor, it's got to be another rocket.
"Everybody can identify with it," said Sortor. "Even a janitor can say, 'Yeah, I took care of the building where all the engineers worked that did this."
Whitt says replacing the rocket is a top priority.
There is already $2 million set aside to design and build a full scale replica.
"That will stand the test of time and become the welcome mat for Alabama that the other rocket was," said Whitt.
What's left of the Saturn IB is now at a secured site on Redstone Arsenal.
NASA would not allow WAAY 31 cameras back there. We're told eight engines were salvaged, along with the service module. They will be refurbished and made available as artifacts for display
One of the last surplus Saturn IB rockets that didn't go to space was located at a rest area at the Alabama/Tennessee state line. Video courtesy of Laura Stovall
Saturn IB damage
6557a135938e7.image.jpg

These are pictures sent to WAAY 31 by the U.S. Space & Rocket Center of the damage documented after the Saturn IB rocket at the Alabama/Tennessee state line rest stop came down.
Saturn IB rocket damage
6557a1805a2cf.image.jpg

These are pictures sent to WAAY 31 by the U.S. Space & Rocket Center of the damage documented after the Saturn IB rocket at the Alabama/Tennessee state line rest stop came down.
Saturn 1B rocket
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Saturn 1B rocket just off Interstate 65 near the Alabama-Tennessee state line.
Georgia Clark
 
Yes sitting outside for 40 plus years and no one thought to take care of this valuable piece of space history. Its value cannot be measured in mere money. It’s nice to see they are building a replica, but it won’t be the real thing will it. Its proper place should have been in the rocket garden. No one cares about anything these days and it’s very sad.
 
On a similar note a few years ago the National Museum of the US Air Force had a special event where they created a new display of early spacesuits. The spacesuits were from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. They all needed extensive repairs and stabilizations before they could be put on display. Some of them were in very bad shape despite being stored inside and never been used. As I recall a lot of the damage was in the seams where they were literally falling apart.

One of the jokes they made during the presentation was that they didn't tell the astronauts that the spacesuits they were wearing into space weren't meant to last all that long.
 
On a similar note a few years ago the National Museum of the US Air Force had a special event where they created a new display of early spacesuits. The spacesuits were from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. They all needed extensive repairs and stabilizations before they could be put on display. Some of them were in very bad shape despite being stored inside and never been used. As I recall a lot of the damage was in the seams where they were literally falling apart.

One of the jokes they made during the presentation was that they didn't tell the astronauts that the spacesuits they were wearing into space weren't meant to last all that long.
It's a good thing the quality improved before Watney was marooned!
 
It's a good thing the quality improved before Watney was marooned!
Considering the film "The Martian" was a two-hour-long advertisement for duct tape, it probably would have been more realistic if his spacesuit had been half tape as we neared the end of the film. Too bad you can't eat tape, because that was one supply he never ran out of!
 
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