We decided to take a small detour on our journey from Birmingham to Montgomery, Alabama…
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center at Huntsville, Alabama is somewhere I had long wanted to visit. The area was once primarily famed as the watercress capital of the world but today it ranks as the 2nd largest technology center in the United States.
Just after World II a group of 100 rocket scientists from Germany; led by Wernher Von Braun, came to the USA to work for the Federal Government. This was the same team who had developed the V-2 bomb. Over the next decades Von Braun worked on developing missile technology for the US military, but his big ambition was to develop space vehicles to take men into space. His work led to the Saturn space vehicle developments which ultimately led to the Apollo missions. Through this work, the Marshall Space Center was created alongside Redstone Arsenal, where today they work on the future space launch vehicles (to replace the shuttle) and rocket engines.
The Space Center has a great set of displays outlining the work of Von Braun and his team and also exhibits of space technology including the lunar landing craft and earth return craft from the Apollo missions. This is also the home of Space Camps where children and families can attend 3 to 5-day camps, working on various activities related to astronaut training. This includes simulations of being in a space shuttle launch and working aboard the space station – looks great fun! The outside exhibits include a Space Shuttle together with the solid-fuel rocket booster and Saturn I and Saturn V space vehicles (which are huge).
To end our visit we went to the IMAX dome theatre where we saw a documentary called “Hurricane on the Bayou”. This is a fascinating film made about some musicians working in New Orleans to try and save the wetlands outside New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. They were trying to get government support to recover these wetlands saying that the elimination of these would be catastrophic for the New Orleans should a powerful hurricane hit. Their words were prophetic as midway through the filming Katrina hit. Their film included some of the footage during and after Katrina. A real case of “I told you so”!!!.
We all loved our visit to Space and Rocket Center – anyone who loves this type of technology should try and make a visit there if they are in the area.
Planning your visit to the US Space & Rocket Center
|Location:||One Tranquility Base, Huntsville, Alabama, 35805|
Open 7 days a week, 9 am – 5 pm
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day
Adults (13 and up) – $25, Children (5 to 12) – $17
Children 4 and under – FREE