Alabama roadside rest stop about to lose its Saturn-1B rocket

Due to decay and rust, an Alabama roadside welcome center is about to lose the Saturn-1B rocket that has greeted visitors for the past 44 years.

The Welcome Center opened in 1977. In 1979, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center donated the Saturn 1B rocket, 168 feet high and 22 feet in diameter, to stand as a symbol of Huntsville’s role in the space program. The rocket was painted in 2006 and more maintenance was done starting in 2014, but it has steadily deteriorated since then.

“It was starting to fall apart,” [said Lee Sentell, director of the Alabama Tourism Department.] “We’ve gotten complaints for years about it.”

The cost to refurbish it appears to be too high. Maybe Sentell can get NASA to donate an SLS rocket for display, since it is very possible that several of those will become available at some point in the future when SpaceX’s much more efficient and cheaper Starship/Superheavy begins flying.