As commercial space flight becomes more and more prominent in the world of space exploration, technology from companies like SpaceX is being acknowledged as worthy of preservation for public display. Soon visitors to the Space Center Houston will be able to see one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets that was used twice for NASA-commissioned missions.
The Falcon 9 is notable for being reusable, and the particular core that will go on display was first launched on June 3, 2017 for a mission to resupply the International Space Station. After the first stage landed successfully at Cape Canaveral, it was used again six months later for a second mission carrying a Dragon capsule to the station on December 15, 2017.
This will be one of only two Falcon 9 boosters on public display, and it will be the first time that a commercial exhibit will be shown at the NASA-operated Space Center Houston. It demonstrates the role of private companies in space exploration through NASA partnerships.
“One of the things we’ve been wanting to do here is interpret the history of the space program, but also interpret for the public what is currently going on and where we are going moving on into the future,” William Harris, president and CEO of Space Center Houston, said to collectSPACE. “With the relationship that NASA has with the commercial sector in support of the International Space Station and other missions, I felt we really needed to begin interpreting that as well.”
The Falcon 9 core is an impressive size, measuring in at 41 meters (134.5 feet) tall and 3.6 meters (nearly 12 feet) in diameter. Even empty of cargo and fuel it weighs 27 tons, and when it was full of propellant it weighed 438 tons.
To display the core, it will be placed horizontally and elevated up 14 feet in the air, allowing visitors to walk underneath it and see it up close. The visualization video released by the Space Center Houston shows a grassy area outside with curved paths going underneath the rocket which is supported by pillars.
The aim is for the exhibit to be in place later this summer, so if you want to see this piece of SpaceX history for yourself you can start planning your trip to Houston.
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