Sept 8, 1960
On this day, then-President Eisenhower dedicated NASA’s new George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, which has played a pivotal role in the development and advancement of space exploration. An outgrowth of the Army’s Redstone Arsenal, Marshall is where founding director Wernher von Braun and his team developed the Saturn rockets that ultimately carried U.S. astronauts to the moon in 1969. The center is also integrally involved in experiments being carried out on the International Space Station and is playing a leading role in the development of NASA’s new Space Launch System, designed to expand astronaut-led exploration into deep space.
Learn more at Encyclopedia of Alabama or NASA.
The Marshall Space Flight Center, a NASA field installation, was established at Huntsville in 1960. The center was named in honor of Gen. George C. Marshall, the Army chief of staff during World War II, secretary of state and Nobel Prize winner for his world-renowned Marshall Plan. (NASA)
Negotiations between the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Aug. 11, 1959. Seated at the table with his back to the camera is Dr. T. Keith Glernan, NASA administrator. At the head of the table is Maj. Gen. John Barclay, commander of ABMA, and at the right side of the table are Col. John G. Zierdt of ABMA and Dr. Wernher von Braun. (NASA)
Dr. Wernher von Braun briefs President Eisenhower at the front of the S1 Stage (first Stage) of the Saturn 1 vehicle at the Marshall Space Flight Center on Sept. 8, 1960. (NASA)
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was created on Oct. 1, 1958, to perform civilian research related to space flight and aeronautics. President Eisenhower commissioned Dr. T. Keith Glernan, right, as the first administrator for NASA and Dr. Hugh L. Dryden as deputy administrator. (NASA)
The first full engine assembly static firing is seen at Marshall Space Flight Center’s static test tower in Huntsville, Madison County, in May 1960. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, Library of Congress)
The Marshall Space Flight Center — named for George C. Marshall, the U.S. Army’s World War II chief of staff and the creator of the Marshall Plan — is the heart of the U.S. space program. Located in Huntsville, the center, along with Redstone Arsenal, has transformed the area into a high-density job center for engineers and physicists. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
This aerial view of the shuttle Enterprise shows the shuttle orbiter being hoisted into Marshall’s Dynamic Test Stand for the Mated Vertical Ground Vibration test. The test marked the first time that the entire space shuttle — an orbiter, an external tank and two solid rocket boosters — were mated together, Oct. 4, 1978. (Earnie Harding, NASA)
Aerial view of Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. (Wikipedia)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.