U.S. Space and Rocket Center begins $20 million project to restore rockets

HUNTSVILLE Ala. -- The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is launching a new campaign to preserve iconic pieces of America's space program. The project is expected to cost $20 million.

The historic rockets are being taken down to begin a restoration process in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing.

"With it being just 404 days away, we have to get started now," said Deborah Barnhart the CEO & Executive Director of the Rocket Center.

When that day comes the world will celebrate the anniversary of the lunar landing, and the Rocket Center wants to be ready.

"Like Lady Liberty in New York City, or the Arch in St. Louis, the Rocket Center is the icon of the Rocket City," Barnhart said.

The rockets in Rocket Park have been on display outdoors since 1969. They will be removed and remounted on structural supports, but the renovation comes at an exorbitant cost. The campaign needs to raise $20 million dollars to preserve and relocate the rockets, and to have the Saturn V repainted.

"We are going to be totally dependent on the community to raise this money," Barnhart said.

She said the work is proceeding under Alabama bid laws, and all eligible vendors are encouraged to bid on the work.