Rocket Park

Donate TodayThe U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s Rocket Park was called “the finest rocket collection in the world” by Mercury astronaut John Glenn. In the park, 27 missiles and rockets show how Army rocketry launched America’s space program and gave rise to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

Featured here are a few of the rockets on display.



Saturn I Block II

Saturn IBThe Saturn I is the precursor to the Saturn V rocket that took man to the moon. It was the first launch vehicle made for the sole purpose of exploring space, and had a 100% success rate! The Saturn IB launched the Apollo 7 mission and three Skylab missions – America’s first space station. You can view a mock-up of Skylab as well as some real solar panel fragments inside the Saturn V Hall.

Height: 189 ft. (More than 16 stories!)
Weight: 1.12 million lbs.
Thrust: 1.6 million lbs.


German V-1

German V-1The V-1 “Buzz Bomb” was a winged subsonic missile used during WWII in the German blitz over Britain. It was nicknamed for the buzzing sound of the engine as it flew overhead. If you heard that buzzing stop, it was no longer flying – it was falling! However, many V-1s failed to reach their intended targets because they moved so slowly and had poor guidance systems. The V-1’s little brother, V-2 is located inside the Saturn V Hall.

Length: 27 ft.
Weight: 5,023 lbs.
Thrust: 750 lbs.
Velocity 375 mph


U.S. Army Redstone

U.S. Army RedstoneThe Army Redstone was the first rocket developed by Dr. Wernher von Braun and his team after they moved to Huntsville. It was a ballistic missile that could be launched on the battlefield. The Army Redstone was so successful, it was modified for spaceflight. The modified versions launched America’s first satellite and America’s first manned spacecraft! You can spot its two cousins nearby.

Length: 69 ft.
Weight: 61,300 lbs.
Thrust: 78,000 lbs.
Velocity: 3,800 mph


U.S. Army Jupiter

U.S. Army JupiterThe Jupiter rocket launched America’s monkeynauts, Able and Baker, into space. Able and Baker were the first creatures to be launched and recovered, helping pave the way for human space travel. After her retirement from the space program, Miss Baker lived out her years here at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center! You can find her memorial stone outside the Gift Shop.

Length: 60 ft.
Weight: 108,804 lbs.
Thrust: 150,000 lbs.
Velocity: 11,455 mph


Juno II

Juno IIJuno II was a modified Jupiter rocket with upper stages and payload sections. In March 1959, Juno II launched the Pioneer IV – America’s first probe to do a lunar flyby! What happened to the other Pioneer probes? Unfortunately, Juno II only had a 40% success rate. The rest exploded! The vehicle did launch several Explorer satellites into Earth’s orbit, which paved the way in understanding the sun’s gamma and x-rays.

Length: 77 ft.
Weight: 110,500 lbs.
Thrust: 150,000 lbs.


Jupiter-C

Jupiter-CJupiter-C was a modified Redstone rocket designed to be a satellite launch. On January 31, 1958, a Jupiter-C rocket launched Explorer I, America’s first satellite! Although the Soviet Union launched their Sputnik satellite first, America’s satellite did something it couldn’t do. Explorer I discovered the Van Allen Belts – a layer of radiation and charged particles surrounding the Earth.

Length: 71 ft.
Weight: 64,000 lbs.
Thrust: 83,000 lbs.


NASA Mercury Redstone

NASA Mercury RedstoneAnother modified Army Redstone rocket, the Mercury Redstone was upgraded to launch a capsule containing humans. The Mercury Redstone was used for the first two manned spaceflights of NASA’s Mercury program. On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space, quickly followed by Virgil “Gus” Grissom on July 21, 1961. Both achieved suborbital flight, however Gus’ capsule door malfunctioned when he landed in the Atlantic Ocean, causing the door to eject and the capsule to flood. Gus was recovered, but his capsule sank and was not able to be recovered until 1999.

Length: 83 ft.
Weight: 66,000 lbs.
Thrust: 78,000 lbs.


Mercury Atlas

Mercury AtlasThe Atlas rocket was America’s first intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) before it was modified to launch Mercury astronauts into Earth’s orbit. The first American to achieve orbital flight was John Glenn, but three other Mercury astronauts also surpassed the orbital velocity of 17,500 mph.

Length: 71 ft.
Weight: 267,100 lbs.
Thrust: 387,000 lbs.



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