NASA to give away Apollo-era rocket to whoever can move it
Attention, Apollo space fans! You can now own a part of the Saturn 1 rocket from the Apollo space era, as long as you have the means to transport it yourself. The Saturn 1 rocket, the United States’ first heavy-lift rocket, played an essential role in sending Man to the moon on July 20, 1969. Now, you can own a part of history— just as soon as you can find a way to bring it home.
Before the Apollo era
Long before the Apollo space era gained fame and recognition in the 1960s for its efforts to send Man to the moon, the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency [ABMA] began developing the Saturn 1 rocket in 1957. Under the direction of Wernher von Braun, engineers composed clustered tanks to test how they could design a high-quality rocket to launch into space. This clustering of smaller tanks, rather than larger tanks, proved to be successful, allowing the use of tooling from the Redstone and Jupiter missile programs.
Once President John F. Kennedy formally initiated the Space Race to the Moon in 1961, engineers worked tirelessly to test the Saturn 1 rocket. Between 1961 and 1965, 10 Saturn 1 rockets were launched, all proving to be successful. Rockets launched with Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, and Gordon Cooper. The early models of the Saturn 1 design evolved into the Saturn 1B rockets used in the Apollo era, including the Saturn V rocket that sent Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon in 1969.
A rare, unused historical find
NASA’s historic Marshall Space Flight Center [MSFC] in Alabama has recently ‘excessed’ a Saturn 1 Block 1 Booster, an intricate part of the Saturn rocket. The booster is part of the bottom-most stage of the original Saturn 1 rocket—an apparatus designed to help the rocket power out of the Earth’s atmosphere.
The specific booster currently owned by MSFC never flew in space—used only as a test while engineers made necessary adjustments moving forward with other Saturn 1 rockets. With this in mind, the booster is in mint condition and is a rare historical find. If the booster had been used, it would currently be at the bottom of the ocean, since the standard practice for all NASA launches prior to the space shuttle program and SpaceX projects was to allow boosters to fall away into the ocean.
Bring it home
If you have always wanted to own a piece of history, the MSFC is giving away the Saturn 1 Block 1 Booster to any individual or organization that has the means to store it. Whoever takes the rocket must pay $250,000 to have the booster shipped, making it available for museums, educational institutions, or other organizations to purchase the rare find. NASA wants to make sure the booster goes home to the right group of people; therefore, the administration does pre-screening for applicants. If you’re still interested in claiming a part of history, don’t hesitate to fill out the application to get started on the process.
Other unique finds
The Saturn 1 Block 1 Booster isn’t the only remarkable find NASA owns from the Apollo space era. There are many other pieces of rocket equipment – including dehydrated food packets, thermal blankets, strike test plates and shuttle tiles – available for viewing in the rocket garden at Kennedy Space Center. Ultimately, these artifacts take up, well, space and it’s time for NASA to distribute it to worthy organizations and individuals who are committed to prolonging the legacy first established by the Apollo space program in the 1960s. Who knows, one day NASA might finally release pieces from the Apollo 11 space rocket. Wouldn’t you love to get your hands on those priceless, timeless artifacts?