HUNTSVILLE Ala. (WSFA) - The recent SpaceX launch has sparked a renewed interest in the space program.
In Alabama, there’s no better place to learn about the history of America’s space race than the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.
Former NASA Astronaut Wendy Lawrence told WSFA 12 News she believes everyone should visit the Space and Rocket Center.
“Where else in the world can you walk the length of a Saturn V rocket?” Lawrence said.
The Saturn V Rocket on display in Huntsville is one of only three in the world. It’s one of many features that showcases Alabama’s role in the space race.
“We do have Dr. Von Braun’s office, which is remade in here down to what books he had on his shelf, which is pretty amazing. And then we have different engine so you can see how big these engines are. I mean, you can stand inside an engine, it’s so huge,” says Katie Anderson, Museum Director for the Space and Rocket Center.
The museum has, step by step, been reopening after two months of being closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The INTUITIVE Planetarium is also planning to reopen Friday night.
“I think astronomy is sort of the really the first science that people had access to and it remains the easiest science to study. You just have to go outside and look up,” Planetarium Director David Wiegel said. “And you know, especially in light of recent events, I think people are doing that with more frequency, they’re spending more time at home. They’re spending time outside and they’re, they’re able to see the world around them with new eyes and we hope that the programming here really augments that experience and helps to teach you what you’re looking at what you’re looking for. And really give you an understanding of you know, our place in the space as a whole in terms of the entire universe, but also the importance of the earth, and what we have here in this very special planet.”
Also coming back are the space camp programs. Even recently, teachers from across Alabama attended the Educators Space Camp.
“I grew up watching John Glenn, go up in the mercury I watched Neil Armstrong take the first step on the moon as a teenager and what I see my mission right now is to get that same excitement into the children have today,” Longtime Selma City Schools’ educator Steve Ruiz said.
Students are also returning for space camp.
“Who knows, we may have the next astronaut, the next president, the next you know, the next school superintendent, coming through our campus next week,” Education Director Kay Taylor said.
“I think it shows us what we do when we all come together to work as a team. And we stay focused on the task. I think it shows what’s possible when you’re willing to work hard, and sustain your attention span.” Lawrence added.
Staff members are following social distancing and sanitation guidelines as well as wearing masks. The museum is also strongly recommending that visitors also wear a mask.