Bill to save Saturn 1B signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey

WAFF 48's Claudia Peppenhorst reporting
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 6:57 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - UPDATE: Governor Kay Ivey has officially signed SB313 into law on Wednesday afternoon.

ORIGINAL REPORT: A bill that would restore or replicate the iconic Saturn 1B rocket in Ardmore is currently awaiting Governor Kay Ivey’s signature.

In January, NASA and the Marshal Space Flight Center announced to remove the Saturn 1B rocket due to its deteriorating state.

To save it, State Senator Tom Butler introduced Senate Bill 313. The bill calls for the restoration of the rocket or a replica to be put in its place if it is beyond repair. Lawmakers approved the bill, and it’s now awaiting Governor Ivey’s signature.

Advocate Joe Fitzgerald said he’s thrilled lawmakers saw the importance of this rocket.

“I’m very thankful now that our state has given this rocket the recognition and the appreciation that it deserves,” Fitzgerald said. “It stood there for 44 years and carried the torch of Alabama’s technological excellence for these many years.”

If signed, the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs would oversee the project.

Advocate of the rocket Steven Thornton said restoration is the better option financially and historically.

“This is a very important national treasure and it only makes sense that we preserve it,” Thornton said.

As for the price tag, State Senator Tom Butler said there are a few million dollars in the general fund for the project.

Thornton said while the bill is a step in the right direction, the fight is not over to save Saturn 1B.

“We can’t give up,” Thornton said. “The tide is rolling in the right direction but we need to see this through, we need to see it to completion, not only for the immediate preservation today but endowment of this rocket in perpetuity.”

Because NASA loaned the rocket to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the space agency will have to approve any changes.

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