The Space and Rocket Center says the Saturn IB rocket is damaged beyond repair by I-65 and poses a safety hazard.
These repairs would cost over $7 million to disassemble and reconstruct the rocket with no guarantees that it would withstand the process.
Even if these repairs were possible, they would have to be done in the field because the rocket is just too big to move. Officials say the missile would not be able to go through bridge overpasses on I-65, and there are other issues when it comes to alternative routes.
Repairs would also require a full-time team of experts to work on the rocket for more than a year, and it wouldn’t keep the Saturn IB rocket from deteriorating again. That’s because the rocket wasn’t supposed to be out in the weather for more than 40 years.
Now the Rocket Center and the Marshall Space Flight Center look to the future.
“We are inspired by the community’s passion for the rocket and the achievements it represents. Whether the rocket is replaced with a Saturn IB replica or another rocket, we are excited at the opportunity to create a new enduring landmark of Alabama’s leadership in space exploration,” Dr. Kimberly Robinson, CEO and executive director of US Space & Rocket Center, said.
They work with local, state, and federal leaders to find sustainable and affordable replacements.
“This is an opportunity to create a landmark that will stand the test of time and serve as a symbol of Alabama’s past and present role in space and technology,” said Rep. Andy Whitt (R-Ardmore), chairman of the House Committee on Economic Development and tourism. “Everyone involved is working together to create the next great icon for our community, our state and our nation.”
Limestone County Commission Chairman Collin Daly added, “After meeting with NASA and the US Space & Rocket Center, I am 100 percent confident that we can work together to find a solution that wins people’s voices.” of Alabama and honors the legacy of those who took us to the moon.”
It is still unclear when the rocket will be launched.