Iconic Saturn 1B Rocket in Alabama to be Taken Down

photo by Donna Vissman

For Tennesseans who travel down I-65 South headed to the beach, you’ve probably seen the Saturn 1B rocket and stopped at the Alabama Welcome Center that sits adjacent to the rocket.

Currently, the Alabama Welcome Center is closed for renovations and Alabama officials say the rocket needs to be removed.

AL.com reports the rocket is in need of costly repairs and should be removed after sitting at the rest stop for four decades.

“The fact that it’s been up there (so many) years is pretty amazing,” said Lee Sentell, director of the Alabama Tourism Department told AL.com.

There are discussions about what might replace the rocket, but nothing has been decided.

Here are some interesting facts about the Saturn 1B rocket.

  • The rocket, called Saturn 1B has been in place about 44 years.
  • It is one of three Saturn rockets developed in Huntsville. It was designed for orbital training missions with both the Apollo spacecraft and lunar model.
  • That Welcome Center opened in 1977.
  • In 1979, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center donated the Saturn 1B rocket.
  • It is 168 feet high and 22 feet in diameter.
  • The rocket was painted in 2006 and more maintenance was done starting in 2014,

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