Saturn 1B rocket to come down, potential replica in the works

WAFF 48's Romario Gardner reporting
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 6:14 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - U.S. Space and Rocket Center Board Chairman Wes Kelley has confirmed that the Saturn 1B rocket that sits along I-65 in Ardmore will be coming down.

Kelley says that after a lot of meetings, discussions and votes, a meeting held on Friday afternoon aided in this decision.

“Today’s meeting was one final opportunity to go through all the material one more time to take a detailed engineering dive to understand the condition of the rocket, the safety concerns that are in place and a path moving forward,” he said. “What was decided today at the conclusion of that detailed engineering analysis looking at safety and looking at the future of the rocket and its material condition. The decision of the business and executive committee was to move forward with the existing plans, which were for the removal of the rocket [and an] eager anticipation of a replica to be put in its place.”

Kelley continued by saying that the Business and Executive Committee decided to continue with the original plan which is to put the rocket on the ground, allowing the loan agreement with NASA to put the rocket back under NASA’s care for its expected demolition and then work with ADECA for a replica.

This decision comes after Governor Kay Ivey signed Senate Bill 313 on Wednesday. The bill, sponsored by State Senator Tom Butler, calls for the restoration of the rocket or a replica to be put in its place.

Talks of removing Saturn 1B came forward in Jan. 2023.

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