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Home > MSFC Landmarks & Facilities > Five Marshall Sites Designated as National Historic Landmarks

Five Marshall Sites Designated as National Historic Landmarks

(The information below was compiled from articles published in the Marshall Star on January 22, 1986, and on July 15, 1987)

The NASA Marshall Space Flight Center announced on January 22, 1986, that the U. S. Department of the Interior's National Park Service had designated four Marshall Center facilities as National Historic Landmarks. On July 15, 1987, a fifth designation was announced.

The first four facilities are the Redstone Test Stand, Propulsion and Structural Test Facility, Saturn V Dynamic Test Stand, and Neutral Buoyancy Simulator. The Saturn V on display at the United States Space and Rocket Center represents the fifth designation.

Click to view larger photo of Historic Redstone Test Stand

Historic Redstone Test Stand

The Redstone Test Stand was used during the 1950s in early development of Redstone missile propulsion system. This was the test stand where the modified Redstone missile that launched the first American into space, Alan Shepard, was static tested as the last step before the flight occurred.


Click to view larger photo of Propulsion and Structural Test FacilityPropulsion and Structural Test Facility

The Propulsion and Structural Test Facility, developed in support of Jupiter missile development, was modified and used for testing during the first clustered engine stage in the American space program- the S-IB stage of the Saturn I launch vehicle period. It was also used as the primary test stand for the development of the F- 1 engine, the largest liquid Rocket engine ever developed. The F-1 generated 1.5 million pounds of thrust.

Click to view larger photo of Dynamic Test Stand

Dynamic Test Stand

The Saturn V Dynamic Test Stand was used in 1966-67 for ground vibration testing of the Saturn V launch vehicle and the Apollo spacecraft. Completion of this program was the final step prior to the launch of Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission. In 1972-73 the stand was used for tests involving the Skylab Space Station; and in 1978-79 for ground vibration testing of the complete Space Shuttle vehicle.


Click to view larger photo of Neutral Buoyancy Simulator Neutral Buoyancy Simulator

The Neutral Buoyancy Simulator provides a simulated weightless environment needed to perform engineering tests in preparation for space missions. The extra vehicle activity for the Skylab rescue and Apollo Telescope Mount film retrieved was developed in the facility.

Saturn V Display

Click to view larger photo of Saturn V Display The Saturn V on display at the United States Space and Rocket Center is the actual test rocket that was used in dynamic testing of the Saturn facilities at Marshall. The stages of the rocket were used to check out all the Saturn facilities at Huntsville. Although the rocket was not intended to be flown, it was a working vehicle that prepared the way for the Apollo expeditions to the moon.

Officials from the Department of the Interior referred to the vehicle as "a unique engineering masterpiece that formed the key link in the chain that enabled Americans to travel to the moon. The success of the Saturn V made possible the success of the American space program."

The Saturn V at the United States Space and Rocket Center was delivered by Marshall in 1969 after all three stages were taken from the Center's Dynamic Test Stand.

The purpose of National Historic Landmark designation is to identify and recognize nationally significant sites. "Landmarks are chosen after careful study by the National Park Service," according to officials from the Department of Interior. "They are evaluated by the National Park System Advisory Board and designated by the Secretary of the Interior in accordance with the Historic Sites Act of 1935 and the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966."

Designation as a National Historic Landmark automatically places a property in the National Register of Historic Places and extends to it special safeguards and benefits provided by Federal law.

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