Marshall Center chosen as historic aerospace site

by Marshall Space Flight Center

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NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. -- the birthplace of the Saturn V rocket, which first took humans to the Moon in 1969 -- has been selected as a Historical Aerospace Site by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

With more than four decades of service in furthering space exploration and research, the Marshall Center has made numerous significant contributions to the history of aerospace. Along with development of the Saturn rocket program, the Marshall Center also successfully managed the Lunar Roving Vehicle, which first transported astronauts on the lunar surface, as well as the Skylab space station project. The Center developed the propulsion systems that power the Space Shuttle each time it launches as well as managing development of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, two of NASA's orbiting Great Observatories.

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics established the Historical Aerospace Committee in 1999 to recognize and preserve noteworthy contributions made in aeronautics and astronautics. Twelve sites previously have been given the distinction.

Based in Reston, Va., the Institute is the world's largest professional society devoted to the progress of engineering and science in aviation, space and defense. With almost 35,000 members, it continues to be the principal voice, information resource and publisher for aerospace engineers, scientists, managers, policymakers, students and educators. Many prominent corporations and governments worldwide rely on the Institute as a stimulator of professional accomplishment in all areas related to aerospace.

To mark the Institute's designation, Marshall Center Director Art Stephenson will accept a plaque recognizing the Center's historical significance from Cort Durocher, executive director of the Institute, in a ceremony at Marshall on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 1:30 p.m. CST.

"To have the Marshall Center recognized for its rich heritage is a great honor to the people who have come before us," said Stephenson. "This award is a tribute to the accomplishments that the people at Marshall have achieved -- and what we will continue to strive for in the future."

The Marshall Center was established in 1960, just two years after the creation of NASA by the Space Act of 1958. The Center was activated July 1, 1960, with the transfer of buildings, land, projects, property and personnel from the U.S. Army's Redstone Arsenal - with which it still shares land today.

The Center was named in honor of Gen. George C. Marshall, who served as the U.S. Army Chief of Staff under President Franklin Roosevelt during World War II and as Secretary of State under President Harry Truman. It was dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on Sept. 8, 1960.

For more information about the history of the Marshall Center, please see the attached fact sheet or visit Marshall's History Office Web site at: