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  JSC Rocket Park: Restoration and Renewal

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Author Topic:   JSC Rocket Park: Restoration and Renewal
Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-07-2008 04:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Rocket Park located between Space Center Houston and the main entrance to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston is currently under restoration.

The work is presently focused on the Little Joe II and its Apollo boilerplate (BP-22).

From August 1963 to January 1966, five unmanned test flights were conducted using Little Joe II rockets at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. These tests helped qualify the Apollo launch escape system and the command module's capability to touchdown on land.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-07-2008 04:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Saturn V Building, which protects the recently restored moon rocket, has been painted with labels on either side:




Inside, models of an Apollo Lunar Module and a cutaway Orion crew exploration vehicle have been added since my last visit:

Mr Meek
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From: Chattanooga, TN
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posted 11-07-2008 07:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr Meek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's good to see exterior exhibits getting some much needed attention. Texas, Alabama, and Florida do not boast ideal climates for rockets outdoors. Hopefully the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will follow suit in the near future.

That's an interesting Orion cutaway. Is it a Guard-Lee product? But you know, in Huntsville, they have a whole Orion mock-up at the end of their Saturn V. Just sayin'

dtemple
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From: Longview, Texas, USA
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posted 11-07-2008 08:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The link to the "Field Guide" says the service module is a boilerplate. In fact, it is not. It is SM 102. CM 102 was scrapped incidentally. I can remember first seeing BP 22 when it was sitting just outside Building 2. That was a long time ago!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-09-2008 09:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
By way of an update and as evidenced by the location of the scaffolding near the Little Joe II, the bulk of the work now underway is focused on the rocket's launch stand. The booster and CSM's restoration will apparently be mostly limited to a fresh coat of paint.

Speaking of paint, the Saturn V Building's new markings are not complete either. A NASA meatball is planned, and what appears to be the outline of the Saturn V itself is currently in progress.

AFGAS
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From: Merritt Island, FL
Registered: Feb 2008

posted 11-10-2008 10:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for AFGAS   Click Here to Email AFGAS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dtemple:
The link to the "Field Guide" says the service module is a boilerplate.
I'll get this updated on the Field Guide. I believe I had a discussion about this with John Charles, and the lack of RCS thrusters led to the boilerplate label. I found the notation on the Apollo Hardware End Item list (which I am still going through and syncing my site to).

Don't hesitate to point out corrections needed to the Field Guide! Even though it is only a hobby, I do want it to be as accurate as possible!

btguest
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From: Osan, Repbulic of Korea
Registered: Oct 2008

posted 11-12-2008 10:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for btguest   Click Here to Email btguest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dtemple:
I can remember first seeing BP 22 when it was sitting just outside Building 2.
I used to love going to Building 2 when we visited JSC before Space Center Houston came along. I remember in a dark corner they had a display case with the Apollo 13 lithium hydroxide scrubber. Its amazing that what is today one of the most famous space hardware components (thanks, Ron Howard!) was at the time relegated to such an inglorious display.

There were a ton of other artifacts that didn't make it down the road to Space Center Houston (a Gemini ejection seat, a lot of shuttle items that were displayed in a replica shuttle bay... pretty cool). I wonder what happened to all of them.

dwmzmm
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posted 11-20-2008 09:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dwmzmm   Click Here to Email dwmzmm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, I didn't realize that more restoration work was underway at Rocket Park! Haven't been there since this past summer. We have a NAR model rocket contest coming up at JSC on December 20th, so I'll have to drop in and see what's new. The last few times I toured Rocket Park, I noticed the Mercury Redstone needs a lot of work, too. Thanks for posting those pics!

dwmzmm
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posted 11-24-2008 03:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dwmzmm   Click Here to Email dwmzmm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Will there be any additional hardware(s) put on display at Rocket Park in the future? I thought I heard/read somewhere that one of the Shuttles will be put there after the fleet is retired.

Personally, I'd love to see some additions (a long shot, I should say in advance) such as a Mercury Atlas, Gemini-Titan II, Apollo/Saturn 1-B and maybe even a Soyuz.

Mr Meek
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posted 11-24-2008 03:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr Meek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You should check out this thread for a discussion of the shuttle fleet's future homes.

And while I can't speak to an Atlas or Titan, I feel fairly safe in speculating that there are no Saturn I or IB stages gathering dust in a warehouse. Maybe Alan Lawrie's new book will offer clarification.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-04-2009 07:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Saturn Lane has again a view appropriate of its name. A life-size mural of a Saturn V has been completed stretching the length of the facility that displays one of the three remaining 363-foot moon rockets.

The building-size booster painting can be seen when driving along Saturn Lane as you approach the main entrance to Johnson Space Center and the intersection with NASA Road One.

Click on the above photograph to enlarge.

Mr Meek
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posted 01-05-2009 10:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr Meek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SLA seems a little short, but that's a neat way to dress up the building.

Incidentally, I'm working in the church office today, and one of the pastor's kids remarked that it would take a BIG box of crayons to color that.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 06-30-2010 12:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE: Gemini-Titan display arrives in Houston
A 100-foot tall rocket rolled into Houston last week to join the small collection of very large launch vehicles populating the rocket park at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Texas.

The Gemini-Titan, which for decades stood in the rocket garden at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, arrived by truck last Wednesday and Thursday divided into four large parts. The delivery was made with little fanfare or notice.

E2M Lem Man
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posted 06-30-2010 03:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was told once when it was at the Cape that the Titan II's engines and parts of it came from a Titan I that was salvaged for parts. Can anyone there tell?

JSC01
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From: Houston, Texas, USA
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posted 01-03-2012 05:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JSC01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently found the collectSPACE article on a Titan delivered to JSC in June 2010.

Went by and checked it out, still located in the same place/condition as it was delivered. There are some first stage engines there now, so it looks like some progress is being made toward completeness.

Based on the article timeline, restoration is behind schedule. Does anyone have a status update? Hopefully the Explorer move does not create a funding crunch that further delays the rocket restoration.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-03-2012 06:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JSC01:
Hopefully the Explorer move does not create a funding crunch that further delays the rocket restoration.
Two different funding sources: the Explorer move is being funded by Space Center Houston. The Gemini-Titan restoration falls under the auspices of Johnson Space Center's exhibits department.

It's only a guess, but the delay may be in part due to the recent retirement of JSC's long-time exhibit manager, Louis Parker.

SpaceKSCBlog
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posted 01-05-2012 07:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceKSCBlog   Click Here to Email SpaceKSCBlog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not looking to pick a fight with anyone from Houston, but reading through this thread I really have to wonder why they make such a fuss about being given an orbiter when they have to scrape for the money just to protect what they have now.

Learning that the Gemini-Titan is still lying on the ground where it was dumped in June 2010 doesn't exactly assuage my concerns that any orbiter they received would sit in a hangar -- or worse -- for years until they could find funding.

I wasn't aware until reading at a link earlier in this thread that the Smithsonian had to raise the money to build a temporary enclosure for the Saturn V.

Richard Rogers
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posted 01-05-2012 08:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Rogers     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Its my understanding that the Smithsonian provided technical assistance with the restoration, not funding. We have the OAA from 39-B at Rocket Park, I hope it is taken care of and is not allowed to just sit there. Had the chance to see it last month, you can just feel the history as you walk around it.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-05-2012 09:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Smithsonian oversaw the repair and preservation effort, including funding.

Half of funds came from a dollar-for-dollar matching grant from the Save America's Treasures Program. The other half was raised through donations, including through an independent committee in Houston.

But with regards to an orbiter, unlike at the Kennedy Space Center where NASA owns the facility and contracts for its operation, Space Center Houston is a separate entity from the agency. It was Space Center Houston that would have footed the bill for the orbiter, just as it is now fundraising for the construction of the new space shuttle gallery.

The orbiter access arm is only temporarily parked at the rocket park. When the new gallery is ready, it will be among its exhibits.

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