United States Space & Rocket Center NASA Visitor Center P.O. Box 070015 Huntsville, Alabama 35807-7015 Tel: (205) 837-3400 Fax: (205) 837-6137
Air and Space Museums , Home
Dr. Wernher von Braun, while serving as director of the Marshall Space Flight Center, approached the Alabama legislature in the mid 1960s with the idea of creating a museum jointly with the US. Army Missile Command and NASA. The permanent exhibit would showcase the hardware of the space program. After lawmakers and citizens noted to finance construction in 1968, the US. Army donated land on its Redstone Arsenal and The Space and Rocket Center opened in 1970.
Experience the showplace of America's space program, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. Walk beside the 363-foot Saturn V rocket that took Americans to the moon, stand underneath the nation's only full-scale Space Shuttle exhibit, circle the world's fastest jet, the SR-71 Blackbird, take a futuristic Journey to Jupiter and visit U.S. Space Camp, where young people reach for the stars.
* The Space Center houses more than 1,500 pieces of rocket and space hardware along with dozens of hands-on exhibits.
* The "Pathfinder" orbiter in Shuttle Park was built in 1977 and used to test equipment and procedures for the first Space Shuttle launch. The spacecraft is mounted atop the first shuttle external tank built for NASA. The National Space Technology Laboratory in Bay St. Louis, Miss., housed the vehicle for more than a decade to test shuttle main engines.
* The $200 million SR-71 Blackbird from the U.S. Air Force measures 99 feet long and 18 feet high. It's capable of flying greater than three times the speed of sound, or 2,200 mph. The Blackbird fleet was retired by the Air Force in 1990, but NASA kept three of the aircraft for the research and development of an aerospace plane.
* The museum's Skylab simulator was used for training and problem solving during three missions to America's first Space Station in the 1970s.
* The Centaur G-Prime upper stage, the most efficient, high-energy upper stage in the world is on permanent display in Shuttle Park. Centaur upper stages have helped launch more missions to the moon, Mars and sun than any previous rocket engine.
* Space Center activities sometimes include demonstrations of astronaut training simulators and space hardware, such as Apollo space suits and Space Shuffle heat tiles. The Centrifuge exposes 46 people at a time to the multi "G" forces of launch and re-entry. The "Shuttle to Tomorrow" is a make-believe voyage that turns visitors into astronauts as they dock with an orbiting Space Station.
* Rocket Park features the world's most comprehensive collection of rocketry, including NASA rockets and Army missiles such as the Pershing II, Avenger and a Patriot launcher. The Saturn V, the first one built for NASA, is listed as a National Historic Landmark and was used at MSFC for dynamic testing.
* The $3 million Spacedome Theater features 70-millimeter space and science films projected on a 67-foot domed OMNIMAX¿ screen that creates a "you-are-there" experience. Featured films are "Blue Planet," "The Dream is Alive," and "Destiny in Space" (March 1995). All were filmed partially in space by astronauts.
* "Journey to Jupiter" takes 30 passengers at a time on a trip to the future. All the thrills, from launch to landing, are experienced through motion, sight and sound. It's also a chance to catch up on your space history with a science fiction and fact exhibit located in the "pre-boarding" area. It includes video, movie costumes and space toys.
* Full admission includes a guided bus tour to NASA's Marshall Space Right Center, where Dr. Wernher von Braun's rocket team built and tested some of the first American spacecraft. The tours stop at laboratories, rocket test stands, space station module assembly areas and the Neutral Buoyancy Simulator where astronauts trained to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
* U.S. Space Camp was created here in 1982. The 1986 motion picture "SpaceCamp" was filmed on location in Camp and museum facilities.
* The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is open daily (except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day) from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Summer hours are 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Admission is $14.00 for adults and $8.00 for children (ages 3-12). Group rates are available. The Space Center is located 15 miles east of I-65 at Exit 15 on I-565.