HUNTSVILLE – The birthplace of NASA rockets lies in the land of cotton, hundreds of miles from the launch pads of Cape Canaveral
From the first US satellites and astronauts to the Apollo lunar blasts, to Space Shuttle and NASA The space launch system under development is flooding the rocket story in Huntsville, Alabama.
The nickname of Huntsville, Rocket City, is mainly due to Wernher von Braun and his team of German rockers, who settled here in the 1950s. The city was for a long time the Army's Redstone Arsenal and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. But now it attracts new generations of engineers, scientists and technicians. Tourists come for the story. Children and adults learn at Space Camp.
It was von Braun, Marshall's first director, who wanted to show Huntsville's missile development and testing. Thus, U.S. Space and Rocket Center, an official NASA tourist site that houses one of only three remaining Saturn V moon rockets, this one National Historic Landmark.
Von Braun also planted the seed for the Space Camp. Why did Camp, Football Camp and Cheerleading Camp join, but not Science Camp, he wondered. He did not live long enough to open the Space Camp in 1
His address? A quiet base, Huntsville. Like in "Houston, Tranquility Base here, the eagle has landed," astronaut Neil Armstrong said as he landed on the moon with Buzz Aldrin. The 50th anniversary of these first lunar steps is next July. Huntsville plans to shoot thousands of small rockets in memory.
The DNA of America's original rocket power still permeates Huntsville, after Deborah Barnhart, the executive director of U.S.P. Space and Rocket Centers. It's Alabama's # 1 paid tourist attraction, with bus tours to the limited Redstone and Marshall, and wild rocket-style rides like Space Shot and G-Force Accelerator.
"We are all Space Geeks and we love it" Barnhart said:
But Hunstville is not just about history. Ongoing research aims to bring astronauts back to the Moon and Mars. "We are looking to the future, really looking to travel in space and trying to solve the problems of living and working in space," says Barnhart.
Despite Huntsville's role is author Homer Hickam, a longtime resident of Huntsville Retired from NASA, Cape Canaveral, Florida and Houston sees most of the attention when it comes to space travel. Hickams memoir "Rocket Boys" from 1998 became the movie "October Sky".
"You look at all this great big Saturn V, and the only part that Houston was responsible for was, I do not know, this little part right here," Hickam said laughing as he pointed to the capsule on the Pointed tip of the 363-foot rocket, which stretched horizontally in its huge exhibition hall.
Under the Saturn V are all German beer gardens Thursday evening, spring to autumn. Engineers and their families recently mobbed. Drinks include T-Minus, a locally produced tangerine-flavored beer. Monkeynaut brew is also a favorite.
"It's probably the most scientific town in America," said retired Apollo program worker Billy Neal, a volunteer lecturer who put out his white lab coat for that night's beer garden.
Miss Baker, The Squirrel Monkey, which preceded space astronaut Mercury in 1959, is buried at the US Space and Rocket Center. Space campers sometimes leave bananas on their tombstone.
Close to 1000 campers from all over the world populated the Rocket Center during a typical week this summer. They launched small rockets and felt they were walking in space as they dangled from the ceiling or dived into a water tank that was smaller but similar to what astronauts once used to practice. They were hanged in a cockpit for a Mars landing and sat behind computers as air traffic controllers for the mission to Mars. They even live in dormitories that look like they belong to the moon or Mars.
Camp advisers – called crew trainers – are mostly students or graduates in MINT areas – science, engineering, engineering, or math.
In July, the campers met with the first Space Camp graduate Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger. She attended a Space Academy for older students in the same month when Shuttle Discovery launched the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990. She drove in 2010 aboard the Discovery as a NASA astronaut scientist.
The Space Camp simulations are "as realistic" as they can be for what is done in a week, "she said," We can not train children on a whole range of switches and circuit breakers and systems, but we can give them the big idea. "
Their goal is to help campers" see what they did not do this week so unlike what we did in the program and how it affects you in real space be prepared … and then hopefully some things like all of us will get through rough times, but there are ways to stay in the socket. As Metcalf-Lindenburger shook hands with each of the nearly 1,000 graduates over the weekend, another space camp graduate, Serena Aunon-Chancellor, circled the earth aboard the International Space Station. The list of Space Camp alumni includes many other engineers and scientists, including two others who lived on the space station and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who was present as an adult during his early days.
"This is a barely veiled workforce development program," said Barnhart. "We try to inspire people in MINT, we try to inspire aviation-minded people," as well as robotic and cybersecurity experts.
She added, "These young people, here, they go," At some point into space.
Can not I create a space? Visit Rocket City instead.