September 24, 2021

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center: History and Modern Rocket Power Center

NASA’s George C. Marshall Space Flight Center has more than 6 years of history in the design, construction and testing of a series of legendary rockets, rocket engines and space flight instruments. The centre’s achievements include the Redstone rocket used for the Mercury project, the Saturn rocket used for the Apollo project, the Skylab space station, and the Hubble space telescope.
Marshall is located at the US Army Redstone Arsenal in the northern city of Huntsville, Alabama, approximately 145 miles (233 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta, Georgia. According to its official NASA website, the NASA Center has nearly 6,000 employees. Marshall also manages NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans, where giant rocket stages can be built and loaded onto barges for transport to the launch facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Now, the Marshall Center is developing the Space Launch System (SLS) for the Artemis project, which will allow astronauts to land on the moon and house the private space company Blue Origin.
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The original von Braun team
The core of talent of the original rocket of the center is a team of approximately 125 Nazi engineers, by Wernher von Braun Leader, is has surrendered to the Union of American forces at the end of World War II. The team has been stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas for several years, where they oversaw the test firing of the captured German V2 rocket at the nearby White Sands Test Range. In 1950, the team moved to the site of the Redstone Arsenal Munitions Factory and Test Facility outside Huntsville, where they began work as the Army Guided Missile Center for Artillery, which is part of the Army Agency of Army Ballistic Missiles. The German
team, with the support of US military and civilian personnel, developed two new types of missiles: the Redstone missile and the Jupiter missile. Although they were considered weapons, they were later known by civilian missions. On January 31, 1958, a Jupiter rocket launched the first American Explorer I satellite into orbit. The redstone rocket propelled astronauts Alan Shepard and Gus Gleason in 1961. Gus Grissom) flying the Mercury capsule. The
Redstone rocket carrying Mercury astronaut Allen B. Sheppard Jr. lifted off from Cape Canaveral on May 5, 1961. The
Redstone rocket carrying Mercury astronaut Allen B. Shepard Jr. took off from Cape Canaveral on May 5, 1961. May 1961. (Image source: NASA)
At the same time, von Braun’s team is considering larger elements that bring together the Jupiter and Redstone rockets to create a series of giant multi-engine boosters. As a result of this ambition, the first Saturn I rocket finally flew in 1961.
When the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established in 1958 under the direction of President Dwight Eisenhower, officials from the Department of Defense and NASA concluded that Saturn rockets are more useful for space exploration than military missions. As a result, von Braun’s team was transferred from the Army to NASA.
Historians Andrew J. Dunar and Stephen P. In Waring’s description in “The Power of Exploration: The History of the Marshall Space Flight Center 1960-1990” (NASA History Office, 1999), von Braun believed in “dirty hands.” Von Braun insisted that engineers must have practical knowledge and work closely with builders. This is especially true in the new rocket field. In this field, many things are unknown and the design must be done through experiments. Under his supervision, the Huntsville plant was designed as a factory to keep the distance between design, manufacturing and testing.
President Eisenhower used the Huntsville Rocket Facility as the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in September. January 8, 1960. The facility is named after General Marshall, who served as the Chief of Staff and Secretary of State of the Army, and was awarded the 1953 Nobel Peace Prize for “proposing and supervising the European economic recovery plan” after World War II.

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