HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has a new rocket: the Space Launch System (SLS), and a new building for the brains behind it. Wednesday, the center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the latest addition to the skyline on Redstone Arsenal.
With the help of U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions and U.S. Representative Mo Brooks, Marshall Space Flight Center introduces its new environmentally-friendly building -- giving a new home to the engineers supporting NASA's SLS: a powerful new launch vehicle.
"It's sort of, in my mind, confirmation of the Space Launch System program that is going to lead us into exploration of the solar system," said Senator Sessions. The facility -- Building 4220 -- will house the 400 minds that are developing the system.
"The Space Launch System is going to be an incredible capability for the united states, it will get our astronauts farther than we've ever been, ever," said Marshall Center Director Patrick Scheuermann.
The new facility replaces nearby Building 4202, over 50 years old, now awaiting demolition. The engineers and technologists have been occupying their new location for about a month. Once demolished, the old building location will get a new, green building like 4220 in its place as Marshall creates a newer, more green, campus.
"More modern buildings, you have more natural light, a lot more collaborative space where engineers can actually meet outside their office area in collaborative work spaces," said Scheuermann about the new engineering design of the buildings to come.
The building is Marshall's seventh facility to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified -- punctuating its environmentally-friendly design.
The building is also a money-saver, the construction cost less than refurbishing the old facility, affected by asbestos. This new generation green buildings cut oeration costs by 65% in addition to utility costs being slashed by 35%-40%. It is all part of larger master plan: by 2020, Marshall's overall square footage on the arsenal will be 3/4 what it is today.
"The whole purpose is to free up our monies that otherwise would go into maintenance of older buildings, so we can free up that money for programs that we really want to execute here at Marshall," said Scheuermann.