The US Space and Rocket Center is the state of Alabama’s museum and archive that is totally dedicated to the United States Space Program.
Located in Huntsville in Madison County, it is also the home to the original U.S. Space Camp and Aviation Challenge.
It is also an affiliate of the famous Smithsonian Institution, and because of this, it is the official visitor center for the NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center.
Numerous specialists in space museums around the world have recognized The U.S. Space and Rocket Center for a couple of key reasons.
These reasons include the world’s premiere as well as the most comprehensive collections of U.S. human made space-flight hardware.
The history of The US Space and Rocket Center all center on the German scientist Werner von Braun, whose was a rocket mastermind during the second world war.
He later became the most prominent promotor of human space flight, and it was his vision that led to this Alabama Science Museum.
When the center first opened to the public in 1970, it was a public-relations extension of the Marshall Spaceflight Center of NASA, during a period of time when the Apollo space program was going into a decline.
It was built on land that was donated by the U.S. Army from the Red Arsenal, and has become the home to some of the world’s most incredible “space memorabilia”.
Some of this memorabilia includes the Apollo 16 Command Module, the ‘Casper”, the craft that safely brought Apollo 16 back to Earth, as well as one of the three remaining Saturn V rockets during this historic time.
However, The US Space and Rocket Center’s collection is not just limited to artifacts form this this historic era, as there are artifacts of all of the space programs’ history.
These other artifacts include pieces from the collection of Robert Goddard, considered to be the “American” rocketry pioneer, as well as present day projects such as the International Space Center.
Before manned space flight, NASA tested the effects of space travel on animals, including the famous squirrel monkey known as “Miss Baker”.
“Miss Maker” was one of the first two creatures to return alive to Earth from her space flight, and her body is buried on the grounds of the facility.
Other artifacts at the center from the Space Shuttle program, is the full-size static display of the Space Shuttle “Pathfinder”.
This display is a 75-ton steel orbiter simulator that, was used to create procedures for moving and landing the vehicle.
It is mounted atop a 154-foot external tank, and two 149-foot-tall solid rocket boosters.
In the year 1990, after the he success of Space Camp, the center introduced a program called the Aviation Challenge.
This program exposes campers of all ages to training as military pilots, as is partnered with the U.S. Air Force, the National Guard, and the Navy and U.S. Marines aviation programs.
There are several attractions as well as educational activities at The US Space and Rocket Center, but there are seven that really stand out.
Here are the first two:
The first of the major attractions located at The US Space and Rocket Center, is Space Camp, which was started in the year 1982.
The original Space Camp provided the attendees with an opportunity to learn what it would be like to be an astronaut, and it has evolved over time.
Since its inception, there have been over 900,000 campers that have graduated, including several who have become astronauts.
The idea came as the result of a comment made by famous rocket scientist Werner von Braun, while he was touring The US Space and Rocket Center in 1977.
He was with a group of schoolchildren that were studying rocketry, when he made an astounding statement.
He turned to the museum director and said “we have all kinds of camps for youngsters, band camps, cheerleader camps, and football camps.
Why don’t we have a science camp?
Campers today at Space Camp can get a first-hand feel of working in space or on the moon.
They experience this when strapped into the 5-Degrees-of Freedom Chair, which floats on a cushion of air, as well as 1/6 gravity chair.
The other Space Camp experiences will include a series of classroom lectures about rocketry, space flights, as well as a simulated space mission.
They also have access to shuttle flight and space station mock-ups, living habitats, as well as something very interesting called the UAT.
The UAT, also known as the Underwater Astronaut Trainer, is a neutral buoyancy simulator.
This allows campers to use scuba equipment to dive into a large tank, and during this exercise, they can simulate repair missions to the space shuttle and space station.
The Space Camp was originally oriented to children in grades 4-6, but it has recently expanded to include programs for both junior high and high school students.
The Intuitive Planetarium
The Intuitive Planetarium is the next major attraction at The US Space and Rocket Center, and this offers visitors an 8K digital Planetarium and Digital Dome experience, the only one of its kind in the Southeast.
The theater has 248 seats and provides a very good guest experience that includes a space-themed lobby.
The State-of-the-art projection system includes 5 Christie laser projectors that are carefully synchronized.
Because of this, it delivers a seamless theater experience combined with a Nano seam screen, as well as a completely updated sound system like none-other you will even experience.
This amazing theater offers educational astronomy shows, live entertainment, as well as exciting theater experiences.
The Next 5 Major Attractions at The US Space and Rocket Center
ISS: Science on Orbit
First on this next list of attractions at The US Space and Rocket Center, is the ISS: Science on Orbit.
In this attraction visitors get a true sense of what it is like to both live as well be in space.
You can experience a model of NASA’s Payload Operations Integration Center, where both scientists and engineers on Earth manage the complex instruments on the International Space Station.
Saturn V Hall at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration
The Saturn V Hall at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration is next, where visitors have a complete view of a National Historic Landmark—an authentic Saturn V Rocket.
It is one of only three in the entire world, and the center is very lucky to have it.
At this attraction, visitors will journey through America’s Space Race, as well as NASA’s plan to put a man on the moon and the International Space Station.
Project Liftoff is next, and this is a project of the Huntsville Utilities, Seven States Power Corporation, as well as The U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
This installation integrates solar, battery, as well as electric vehicle charges, and explains the use of solar panels that powered the Vanguard 1 satellite that was launched in 1958.
The Park is an attraction where visitors can experience 3Gs of centrifugal force aboard the G-Force Accelerator, as well as view a mockup of the Apollo 11 landing site.
This site includes a model of the lunar lander, and the America flag planted on the surface of the moon.
The Brick Locator allows visitors to see the commemorative bricks in the Apollo Courtyard, that surround the Davidson Center for Space Exploration.
Both Alumni and supporters of The U.S. Space and Rocket Center have given tribute here, to the engineers and scientists who took us to the moon.
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