Saturn 1B rocket removal begins on I-65 in Ardmore

WAFF 48's Claudia Peppenhorst reporting
Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 12:47 PM CDT
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ARDMORE, Ala. (WAFF) - The removal of the Saturn 1B rocket is underway along I-65 in Ardmore.

On August 3, acting Marshall Space Flight Center News Chief Lance Davis confirmed the rocket removal has begun and construction workers at the site said the engines have already been removed.

“Right now it’s just a sad day for me and a sad day for many, many thousands of people in the Tennessee Valley,” said State Senator Tom Butler.

Butler introduced legislation earlier this year to restore or replicate the rocket, which was signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey. But, Butler said because the rocket is NASA’s property, there is nothing the state can do to stop the removal.

“It’s got Huntsville, Alabama written all over it, we’ve even earned the title ‘Rocket City USA’ and to take that rocket down is a slap in the face to all of the engineers or research and development people at Redstone Arsenal and I just don’t like it all,” Butler said.

Butler said there is a $2 million fund to reproduce the rocket because of his efforts to save the real one. He hopes to see it put to good use.

“I would like to see some kind of replica or monument erected there and that too would be something to decide in the future,” Butler said.

Butler said there is currently no plan in place to preserve any pieces of Saturn 1B, but he would like to have some saved for display.

Space Historian John London said not keeping parts of the rocket would be a waste, as it could help educate current and aspiring engineers.

“Having it in pieces to where you can see the different components that otherwise would be hidden, internal to the rocket now you can se them, would help that educational process,” London said.

Pat Ammons, Senior Director of Public and Media Relations at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, said the engine removal was the first step in the process. Plans are being approved over the coming weeks to remove the rest of the rocket from the current site.

Another view of the Saturn 1B removal process underway along I-65
Another view of the Saturn 1B removal process underway along I-65(WAFF)

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