By David Hitt
Over the next year, the rocket comes to the Rocket City in a big way.
Huntsville, Alabama, a.k.a. “Rocket City,” is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where today the Space Launch System (SLS), the powerful rocket NASA will use for human exploration of deep space, is being developed.
More than six decades ago – before NASA even existed – Huntsville laid claim to the nickname thanks to its work on missiles and rockets like the Juno that launched the first American satellite or the Redstone used for the first Mercury launches.
In the years since, Huntsville, and Marshall, have built on that legacy with work on the Saturn V rockets that sent astronauts to the moon, the space shuttle’s propulsion systems, and now with SLS.
A steel beam is “flown” by crane into position on the 221-foot-tall (67.4 meters) twin towers of Test Stand 4693 during “topping out” ceremonies April 12 at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
While the program is managed at Marshall Space Flight Center, contractors around the country are building the rocket. Engines are being tested in Mississippi. The core stage is being built in Louisiana. Booster work and ...