Three retired astronauts and the former director of NASA's Manned Space Flight Program during the Apollo-era were among the dignitaries on-hand for the Third Annual Saturn/Apollo Reunion held Saturday at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Apollo astronauts Richard Gordon and Walt Cunningham along with Dr. George Mueller assisted during the event with the official groundbreaking for the new Saturn V Visitor Complex and Intermodal Center. The 43,200 square foot Saturn V Visitor Complex will eventually house Huntsville's Saturn V rocket, preserving it indoors for future generations to behold. The facility is scheduled to open next summer.
The Saturn V building will be located on the western section of USSRC's property adjacent to a standing replica of the Saturn V. The Saturn V Restoration Campaign has currently raised approximately $5.3 million of the project's $7.5 million goal.
The intermodal bus transportation (IBT) facility, which will allow visitors to unload from buses, vans, and cars, will be located adjacent to the Saturn V facility, becoming the new point of entry to the museum complex. The IBT building is funded separately from the Saturn V Restoration Project and will be paid for with a $12.9 million appropriation from the Federal Transit Administration.
In addition to Gordon and Cunningham, Skylab and shuttle astronaut Owen Garriott attended the festivities.