Gateway to Space
After World War II, Dr. Werner von Braun, a German rocket scientist, set up his laboratory here. Known as a sleepy Southern town, Huntsville suddenly became the center of the American space effort. The Cold War was beginning, and we HAD to catch up with the Soviets--especially following Sputnik.
Starting with captured German V-2 rockets, Braun and his team developed the first generation of American space rockets. And the rest is history.
Having so many scientists, engineers, technicians, and support personnel here has been great for the town. Not only economically, but culturally. For its modest size, Huntsville has an impressive art and music scene. This is NOT just another boring hick town.
Located just a few miles off I-65, this is an excellent place for a day trip, or even a weekend visit. And there are many other attractions nearby.
US Space and Rocket Centre
"The Rocket Park"
The shuttle's huge booster rockets.
Many American children go to camp during their school holidays. A variety of camps are available. Huntsville provides the opportunity to take part in some of the activities involved in astronaut training.
"A Saturn V Rocket"
Saturn V Rockets like this were used in the Apollo series of missions which resulted in moon landings.
"The Lunar Module"
In the Apollo missions it was the lunar module, with a crew of two which landed on the surface of the moon. Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to result in a lunar landing, with Neil Armstrong and "Buzz" Aldrin manning the Lunar Module. Michael Collins remained in the orbit in the Command Module.
"The Lunar Buggy"
A Lunar Buggy as used by the crew of Apollos 15, 16 and 17, achieving excursions of several miles from the lunar module.
The interior of Sky Lab, the space station launched in May 1973 by a Saturn V rocket became the workplace for three crews. It eventually returned to earth, crash landing in Western Australia in July 1979.
"Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory"
A vast water tank used for practising tasks to be done during space walks (EVA - Extra-Vehicular Activity).
"The Space Shuttle"
The museum's full size space shuttle replica is dedicated to the crew of Challenger which was lost when the spacecraft exploded shortly after take-off.
The shuttle on its booster rockets.